SA President Zuma Must Face Corruption Charges, Court Rules (excerpt)
(Source: BBC News; posted Oct 13, 2017)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma must face charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering, the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled.
It agreed with a lower court ruling last year that prosecutors could bring back 783 counts of corruption relating to a 1999 arms deal. The charges had been set aside eight years ago, enabling Mr Zuma to become president.
The president has always maintained his innocence. In a statement, Mr Zuma's office said the ruling was "disappointing", but anticipated.
The president now expected South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to consider representations from his legal team before making a decision about whether to prosecute him, it added.
The charges relate to Mr Zuma's relationship with a businessman, Shabir Shaik, who was tried and found guilty in 2005 of soliciting bribes from a French arms company "for the benefit of Zuma".
Mr Zuma and other government officials have been accused of taking kickbacks from the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms.
Charges were first brought against Mr Zuma in 2005 but dropped by prosecutors in 2009. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the BBC News website.
The Decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal
(Source: The Presidency; issued October 13, 2017)
The decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal today, whilst disappointing, was much anticipated. The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the then Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) had invoked the incorrect provisions in considering President Jacob Zuma’s representations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). As such, the decision made to discontinue the prosecution against President Zuma is invalid.
The effect of the decision is that the only legitimate decision made by the NPA is to prosecute President Zuma. Importantly, it means that the representations have not been considered and the expectation is that the NDPP will now consider these representations under the correct prescripts of the law and make a legitimate decision relating thereto.
Any person has the right to make such representations and an expectation that a legitimate decision will be made.
These representations will be amplified in light of developments in the ensuing period, not least of all are the recent revelations around the integrity of the audit report which underpins the prosecution.