Zuma to face mu­sic

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TNA RE­PORTERS news@the­newage.co.za

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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