Former South African president, Jacob Zuma, was back in court to face corruption charges. He’s accused of fraud, racketeering, and money laundering involving a $2 billion arms deal.
Zuma’s defense claimed the charges are politically motivated. CGTN’s Yolisa Njamela told us more about the latest hearing.
It’s a case that has been on and off for over a decade now. The former president has always maintained his innocence and asked for his day in court. He also claimed that the charges are a political conspiracy.
Zuma faced charges of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud for allegedly receiving bribe money from Thales, an international arms company, via his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.
Thales was also facing charges of racketeering, corruption and money laundering. The case relates to the country’s contentious procurement of arms deal, which started in 1999. It’s a deal that saw Thales securing a multi-billion-rand contract to supply combat systems to the navy.
In making a case for a permanent stay of prosecution against the former president, Zuma’s legal counsel, Muzi Sikhakhane, argued that the case is about an intersection of law and politics. And that the state has displayed bias in pursuing Zuma.
Sikhakhane put the blame squarely on the head of the former National Prosecuting Authority Bulelani Ngcuka. “He did leave behind him a trail of prosecutorial distraction,” Zuma’s lawyer claimed. “What I submit to this court is the gravest prejudice to an accused citizen. “
Zuma’s critics have constantly accused him of playing delaying tactics in this case. During the hearing, hundreds of Zuma’s supporters converged outside the court. “It’s really politically motivated. We saying they must leave Zuma alone, hands off Msholozi,” one of Zuma’s supporters said.
The case continued. It was expected to wrap up on Friday.