Zuma back in court after his defence highlights ‘lack of funds’

Zuma back in court after his defence highlights ‘lack of funds’

Former President Jacob Zuma after appearing at Pietermaritzburg High Court for corruption charges, 20 May 2019, after his battle for the court to grant him permanent stay of prosecution on the charges related to the multi -billion rand arms deal. Picture: Nigel Sibanda.

The former president’s defence has maintained that the decision to first charge him in 2005 was politically motivated.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s trial has resumed on Friday in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court as he attempts to have the graft charges he faces permanently halted.

His legal team continues to table new evidence for an old alleged conspiracy against Zuma.

His defence Muzi Sikhakhane has, however, indicated an issue in the Zuma camp as he told the court that his client did not have the funds to finance his corruption trial.

Sikhakhane, acting for Zuma, told the court he had a letter showing that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was still investigating the possibility of political interference in Zuma’s case by former president Thabo Mbeki and former justice minister Penuell Maduna as early as March 2018, on Thursday.

Zuma’s defence has maintained that the decision to first charge him in 2005 was politically motivated to ensure he did not ascend to the position of African National Congress (ANC) president and ultimately state president.

The state has denied this, saying Zuma should provide proof of a political conspiracy.

Acting for the state, advocate Wim Trengove again poured cold water on the theory on Thursday morning, calling the “conspiracy theories” “unfounded and disputed”.

Zuma is facing one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering, and 12 counts of fraud for allegedly receiving bribe money from French arms’ company Thales via his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.

The case relates to the country’s contentious arms deal of the 1990s, in which Thales secured a multibillion-rand contract to supply combat systems for the South African navy.

Thales is facing one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption and one count of money laundering. Thales has also been before the court this week arguing for a permanent stay of prosecution. The state also argued on Thursday for Thales’ permanent stay application to be rejected.

(Compiled by Gopolang Chawane)

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.




today in print