Zuma for trial, faces 16 charges of corruption

Posted by News Express | 16 March 2018 | 956 times

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•Embattled former South African President Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s former President, Jacob Zuma, is to face prosecution for 16 charges of corruption, Chief Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams has confirmed.

Mr Abrahams said he believed there were “reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution”.

The charges – which Mr Zuma denies – include counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Mr Zuma, 75, was forced to resign as president last month by his party, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

He was facing his ninth no-confidence vote in parliament before he left office.

The charges relate to a 30bn rand ($2.5bn; £1.7bn) government arms deal in the late 1990s, before he became president.

French arms supplier Thales will also face charges, a prosecutor said. Thales declined to comment, reports the AFP news agency.

Mr Zuma is alleged to have sought bribes from Thales to support an extravagant lifestyle. His financial adviser at the time was found guilty of soliciting those bribes in 2005 and Mr Zuma was later sacked as deputy president.

He now faces one charge of racketeering, two charges of corruption, one charge of money laundering and 12 of fraud.

Shaun Abrahams, head of the National Prosecuting Authority, said a trial court was the appropriate place for the matter to be decided.

He dismissed representations made by Mr Zuma asking that the charges be dropped.

The former ANC chief had argued that the charges against him were characterised by misconduct, “irrational behavior” and media leaks on the part of prosecutors, Mr Abrahams said.

Mr Zuma has always denied the allegations against him.

Mr Zuma weathered an array of corruption allegations during his nine years in power.

In 2016, a report by South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog alleged that the billionaire Gupta family had exploited their ties with him to win state contracts.

Both the Guptas and Mr Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

The same year, South Africa’s highest court ruled that Mr Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.

An anti-corruption body found he had spent $23m (£15m) on refurbishments including a swimming pool and an amphitheatre. He has since repaid some of the money. (BBC)

 


Source: News Express

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