National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Director Shaun Abrahams has confirmed former president Jacob Zuma will have to appear in court and defend himself against charges of fraud and corruption.
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Abrahams made the decision two weeks ago but was subject to the terms of a waiting period before making his announcement on Friday afternoon.
Why do the NPA want to prosecute Jacob Zuma?
Jacob Zuma is facing a total of 18 charges of fraud and corruption, based on 783 transactions he made in trying to facilitate an illicit arms deal
The deal quickly became known as the “spy tapes case”, due to a bungled bit of evidence gathering against Zuma.
Far from being recordings of him saying incriminating things, it’s the opposite side. Head of the now-disbanded Scorpions unit Leonard McCarthy was caught on tape colluding against Zuma with former NPA officials and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka.
Ngcuka’s replacement Mokotedi Mpshe then decided that evidence brought the whole case against Zuma into disrepute, and decided to drop the charges.
However, that decision has been reversed, and JZ is set for his day in court.
In December, the High Court in Pretoria ordered then-deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to replace Abrahams, ruling that Zuma’s decision to appoint him was “null and void” because he was “conflicted” at the time.
Zuma’s criminal charges relate to multi-billion dollar arms procurement deals struck by the government in the late 1990s and from which he is accused of profiting corruptly.
At the time, state prosecutors justified dropping the case by saying that tapped phone calls between officials in then-president Thabo Mbeki’s administration showed undue interference.
Zuma resigned as president last month embroiled in a storm of criticism and growing calls for him to step down following a series of corruption scandals while the country battled falling economic growth and record unemployment.