Zuma to face music
NATIONAL director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams is poised to reinstate fraud and corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma.
It is expected that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will announce Abrahams’ decision in the next few days following a ruling by the Constitutional Court yesterday that Abrahams can announce his decision whether Zuma should be prosecuted.
The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), filed the urgent application last week, which sought an interdict to prevent Abrahams from making the announcement.
Sources in the NPA told The New Age last night that while Abrahams was “hesitant” to reinstate the charges, the panel of senior prosecutors he appointed to advise him on the way forward was “unanimous” that the former president be charged.
“The NDPP’s hands are tied following the advice from the prosecutorial panel that the former president be charged. He (Abrahams) is of the view that rather than the NPA and him risking any more political fallout, it would be in the interests of Zuma and the country that the courts be the final arbiter on the matter,” the sources said.
The sources also said that besides the “unanimous” recommendation by the prosecutorial panel, Abrahams was also guided by “the view that the matter is of such public interest that no closure would take place if this is not done by the courts”.
The NPA’s Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed that the announcement would be made “anytime from tomorrow”.
Zuma had to make representations to the NPA on why charges should not be pursued against him, after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his and the NPA’s applications to appeal a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court, which set aside a 2009 decision to withdraw fraud and corruption charges.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Parliament yesterday that Zuma had agreed to pay back millions in public funds spent on his legal battles if he is found guilty.
Ramaphosa yesterday told Parliament that Zuma was willing to pay back the state funds after signing an agreement with the state in “good faith”.
“The former president signed an undertaking to refund the state if he is found to have acted in his personal capacity and own interests in the commission of the offences with which he was charged.
“We entered (into) this agreement in good faith with the understanding that as he contracts with the state and, in the case that he loses the case, he pays back the money. We did not sign a guarantee,” Ramaphosa said.
He said a total of R15.3m had been spent by the government on Zuma’s legal fees since 2006.
In addition, R7.5m was spent in the period 2006 to 2009. From 2009, the state spent R7.8m on Zuma’s legal costs after he asked that the government cover his expenses. Ramaphosa said the request was approved by the Presidency.
“This stems from a request by the former president in 2006 for legal representation at state expense in respect of the criminal proceedings
“The request was approved by the Presidency based on advice by the state attorney’s office and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development,” he said.
This comes as EFF leader Julius Malema yesterday in the National Assembly wanted Ramaphosa to disclose on what legal provision or policy the state relied when using state money to foot the bill for Zuma’s legal fees.
Malema also questioned an alleged agreement that Zuma’s legal fees would be paid in the event that he was found guilty, made between Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki.
The DA also demanded information on the “agreement” between Zuma and Mbeki.
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