Former president Jacob Zuma will be prosecuted on 18 charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering in connection with the controversial multimillion-rand arms deal scandal in the late 1990s, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams announced this afternoon.
This after Abrahams had received recommendations from a team of NPA prosecutors after Zuma had made fresh representations to him in Janaury on why he should not be indicted on the criminal charges.
“A trial court must decide and ventilate on this matter. There are various prospects of a successful prosecution on this matter. Mr Zuma’s representations are unsuccessful,” Abrahams said.
In September last year, Zuma’s legal team and the NPA conceded before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein that the decision to drop the charges in 2009 was irrational.
What are the spy types all about?
At the centre of the reinstated charges against Zuma is the timing of the decision by the then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, to institute fresh charges against Zuma in 2007.
At the time, Zuma was involved in a leadership struggle with then president Thabo Mbeki, which was due to come to a head at the ANC’s national conference in Polokwane in December that year. In the end, Mpshe decided – presumably to avoid any appearance of political entanglement – to postpone the serving of an indictment until after the Polokwane conference.
Following his indictment, Zuma and his legal team claimed the prosecution was influenced by political motives. To this end, they provided as evidence, copies of intercepted telephone conversations (the so-called “spy tapes”) involving the head of the NPA’s Directorate for Special Operations, Leonard McCarthy. Of specific importance was McCarthy’s conversations with Mpshe’s predecessor, Bulelani Ngcuka, who was widely seen as a Mbeki supporter.
This culminated in Mpshe announcing in 2009 that Zuma’s prosecution would be discontinued. The reasons he offered for his decision were based on “policy aspects”, arising from allegations that the intercepted telephone conversations indicated that McCarthy had manipulated the timing of the serving of the indictment at the behest of allies of Mbeki in the run-up to, and fall-out after the Polokwane conference.
The DA approached the courts to review Mpshe’s decision, asking for it to be set aside on the basis of irrationality. Advocate Sean Rosenberg represented the party.
– African News Agency (ANA)