Zuma will face cor­rup­tion charges as NPA’s de­ci­sion ‘ir­ra­tional’

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - By GENEVIEVE QUIN­TAL

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma will fi­nally have his day in court af­ter the pres­i­dent con­ceded the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Author­ity’s 2009 de­ci­sion to drop charges of cor­rup­tion charges against him was ir­ra­tional.

Zuma has pre­vi­ously told pub­lic gath­er­ings that he is ready to have his day in court. How­ever, he has chal­lenged ev­ery de­ci­sion that sought to have the 783 charges of fraud and cor­rup­tion re­in­stated.

The 11th-hour con­ces­sion was made by Kemp J Kemp, ap­pear­ing for Zuma at the Supreme Court of Ap­peal yes­ter­day.

Now Zuma wants an­other op­por­tu­nity to make fresh rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the NPA be­fore it de­cides to recharge him.

This de­vel­op­ment now places the mat­ter – to de­cide whether Zuma should face 783 counts of fraud and cor­rup­tion – at the door of cur­rent Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions (NDPP) Shaun Abra­hams.

Abra­hams and the NPA have been ac­cused of pro­tect­ing Zuma and serv­ing his in­ter­ests. The pros­e­cu­to­rial body has also been ac­cused of bias and se­lec­tive pros­e­cu­tion. The de­ci­sion to drop charges against Zuma was taken in April 2009 by then act­ing NDPP Mokotedi Mp­she.

The case arose af­ter the DA ap­proached the North Gaut­eng High Court ask­ing that Mp­she’s de­ci­sion be de­clared null and void. In April last year, the court granted the DA’s prayer, or­der­ing the NPA to re­in­state the charges. Zuma and the NPA then ap­proached the SCA to ap­peal this rul­ing.

DA fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive chair­man James Selfe said that given the weight of the con­ces­sions given by Zuma and the NPA it was in­evitable the pres­i­dent would face the cor­rup­tion charges.

“What we’re hop­ing the court will do is go ahead and give some clar­ity to the process that must now take place,” he said.

Hil­ton Ep­stein, for the NPA, ar­gued that Mp­she’s de­ci­sion to drop the charges was based on the tim­ing of the in­dict­ment be­ing served and that there was po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence by Scor­pi­ons boss Leonard Mc­Carthy, who was seen as a sup­porter of for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki. This was when Zuma was con­test­ing Mbeki for the po­si­tion of ANC pres­i­dent at the 2007 Polok­wane con­fer­ence.

If the SCA dis­misses the ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal and up­holds the high court judg­ment, the NPA wants the de­ci­sion of whether Zuma is charged to re­vert back to Abra­hams.

How­ever, Jus­tice Azhar Cach-alia said it was his un­der­stand­ing Abra­hams would be bound by the de­ci­sion of his pre­de­ces­sor. Judg­ment in the mat­ter was re­served. NPA spokesman Lu­vuyo Mfaku, af­ter court pro­ceed­ings, would not com­ment fur­ther on pro­ceed­ings, say­ing the NPA would wait un­til the SCA had handed down judg­ment. — DDC

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