By Prarthana Mitra
Former South African President Jacob Zuma will be prosecuted for several counts of corruption due to his alleged involvement in a multi-billion-dollar arms deal. Zuma, who was ousted as the nation’s president last month now faces one charge of racketeering, two charges of corruption, one charge of money laundering and 12 of fraud.
Zuma has consistently denied the allegations against him, and in fact, he has argued that he was targeted for by officials at the National Prosecuting Authority and his right to a fair trial has been abused. Cyril Ramaphosa has replaced him as the country’s president.
An era of endless corruption
The arms deal dates back to the 1990’s when Zuma’s predecessor had struck a negotiation with French arms supplier Thales in a bid to modernise the country’s defence. A decade of soliciting bribes followed, which led to the incrimination of Zuma’s financial advisor Schabir Shaik in 2005 and later Zuma himself was sacked as deputy president.
However, the original charges against him mysteriously disappeared right before his presidential campaign, causing great controversy across the nation. So when Zuma was forced by his ruling party ANC to resign last month, following nine votes of no confidence at the parliament, it began to look like the cat had finally run out of his nine lives.
NPA’s plans and Zuma’s options
According to reports from Cape Town, the NPA was expected to make an announcement on Zuma’s prosecution on Wednesday but was postponed due to its obligations to inform relevant stakeholders before informing the general public.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCoPA) dismissed another of Abraham’s bid to impede and delay the announcement, fearing that plans of extraditing the minister would soon be in place.
However, Zuma’s position is now much more vulnerable due to the lack of party support and his loss of state resources along with the presidency. The lack of support still doesn’t rule out the possibility of pre-trial delay, as experts are predicting pushback from Zuma even after this huge blow. Zuma’s former advisor Schabir Shaik and other potential witnesses like Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille have already been approached, to testify against him.
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