South Africa: High Court Rejects Ex-President Zuma’s Appeal To Prevent Corruption Trial

The Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday dismissed an appeal by former president Jacob Zuma that urged to prevent his prosecution on corruption charges over a $2 billion arms deal, reported Reuters.

The court ruled that “Mr. Zuma’s leave to appeal is dismissed with costs”. It said there was no compelling reason why the ex-president should be granted leave to appeal the dismissal of his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution.

The three judges, Jerome Mnguni, Esther Steyn and Poyo Dlwati, also criticized the language Zuma used in the affidavit he submitted in his leave to appeal application.

The judges said Zuma’s comments “do not belong in a proper court process”. They said the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) would not be persuaded by that argument because Zuma’s lawyers relied on overturned judgments and reports. Both parties were ordered to pay the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) legal costs.

Zuma had previously filed an appeal for a permanent stay of prosecution in a case that has seen numerous legal turns over a decade and a half. The ex-president is accused of taking bribes worth four million rand ($270,000) from French arms manufacturer Thales through his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik in exchange for protecting the company from an investigation into the deal.

Zuma, 77, denies charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering related to the alleged arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president. Thales also denies the charges.

In mid-October, the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed Zuma and Thales’s appeal for a permanent stay of prosecution. Zuma appealed against it, but on Friday the court rejected his appeal again.

The National Prosecuting Authority initially filed the charges against Zuma a decade ago but set them aside shortly before Zuma successfully ran for president in 2009. The NPA reinstated the charges in March 2018 after several appeals and lobbying by opposition parties.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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