Ex-South African President Zuma Will Face Trial for Corruption

Cheryl Sanders
October 11, 2019

South African former President Jacob Zuma will stand trial on corruption charges relating to a $2.5 billion arms deal after court denied him a permanent stay of prosecution on Friday.

Mr Zuma, who has been accused of taking bribes from French defence company Thales, sought in March to have the case dropped.

But the trial is now scheduled to begin on Tuesday after High Court Judge Willie Seriti ruled that Mr Zuma's "application for the permanent stay is dismissed with costs".

In October previous year, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling that the decision not to pursue the case was "irrational". He's set about restoring credibility to law-enforcement agencies like the National Prosecuting Authority, which was dogged by changes to its top management and allegations it allowed political considerations to influence its decisions to prosecute during Zuma's rule.

State lawyer Wim Trengove had pushed for prosecution arguing that if Mr Zuma did not face trial it gave the impression that he had received special treatment "because he is an important and a powerful man".

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has poured cold water on former President Jacob Zuma's claims that the unreasonable delays in getting his corruption case to trial had disadvantaged him, saying he was partly to blame for the delays.

Although investigations started into the arms deal in the early 2000s, Zuma was first charged in June 2005 following the conviction of his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, on two counts of corruption and one of fraud. The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday announced sanctions against three Gupta family members.

"The family has been implicated in several corrupt schemes in South Africa, allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through illegal deals with the South African government, obfuscated by a shadowy network of shell companies and associates linked to the family", the statement said.

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