The Constitutional Court on Friday dismissed French arms company Thales’ bid to stop its prosecution in the corruption case of former president Jacob Zuma.
“The Constitutional Court has considered this application for direct leave to appeal. It has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it lacks reasonable prospects of success,” reads the order.
The application for leave to directly appeal to the highest court was dismissed with costs.
The trial is set to resume on 23 June. Zuma himself also approached the court, only to withdraw his own application at the end of April after appointing a new defence attorney.
Advocate Andrew Breitenbach SC, acting for the state, previously argued that prosecuting Thales for graft should not be halted because the evidence against the corporation was “very strong”.
“The charges involve the alleged corruption of the second most senior member of the national executive [at the time] and relate to racketeering and money laundering,” said Breitenbach.
Thales was charged alongside Zuma on several counts of fraud and corruption allegedly committed during the controversial arms deal of the 1990s. Thales secured a contract to supply combat systems for the South African navy.
Zuma is alleged to have received bribes from Thales via his friend and former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, to allegedly protect the company from an investigation that was launched at the time. The alleged bribes were also to allegedly sway Zuma to look favourably on Thales for any future contracts.
Shaik was convicted and sentenced for fraud and corruption relating to the same case in 2005.
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Additional reporting, ANA)