NPA wants Zuma punished for ‘intemperate’ language
THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has accused former president Jacob Zuma of using disrespectful language in his court papers and wants the court to impose a financial punishment.
The special request that could cost Zuma up to R400 000, is contained in replying papers and was filed by the NPA in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday before the hearing of the application on Friday.
Zuma wants the court to grant him leave to appeal against an October 11 judgment by a full Bench of the court which ruled he must be prosecuted for corruption, fraud and money laundering emanating from the R30 billion arms deal of 1999 where it is alleged he received bribes from French firm, Thales, via convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik.
In the papers, the NPA is scathing on Zuma and his lawyers and accuses them of wrongly assuming that the corruption trial has started.
This was in response to Zuma’s contention that by allocating a full Bench to hear his case, the matter was swiftly changed from being a criminal trial to a civil trial. Zuma said, as a result, the court violated sections of the Criminal Procedure Act. “The full Bench of the High Court has no jurisdiction to conduct a criminal trial including interlocutory application brought before a criminal court to determine whether there is a legal or factual basis on which the prosecution of the accused before that criminal court should be permanently stayed. As such the hearing of this criminal trial in the civil court constitutes an irregularity,” Zuma said in the court papers filed on November 1.
Hitting back, the NPA said it was not the first time Zuma and his lawyers had raised the issue of the full Bench and when it was explained to them during (May 7 and 13, 2019) meetings with Deputy Judge Jerome Mnguni that there was nothing sinister, they backed off only to raise it once again in their court papers.
“Mr (Dan) Mantsha (Zuma’s lawyer) did not subsequently persist with this complaint and thereafter, Mr Zuma participated in the hearing before the full Bench from May 20 to 24, 2019 without demur… The objection is based on the incorrect premise that Mr Zuma’s trial has started. It has not. It will only start when he is called upon to plead. His and his co-accused’s appearance in the (Durban) High Court last year were pre-trial appearances,” the NPA further argues in the papers.
After this argument, the NPA then asked for Zuma to be heavily penalised.
“Mr Zuma’s notice of application for leave to appeal is regrettably marred by disrespectful and intemperate language and allegations directed at the Full Bench which do not belong in a proper court process. We respectfully submit that, as a mark of its displeasure, this court should order Mr Zuma to pay the costs of this application on the attorney-and-client scale, regardless of the outcome,” the NPA pleads in the papers.
Throughout its submission, the NPA insists that there are no prospects for Zuma’s appeal to succeed in a higher court. In the main, Zuma, in his papers, argued that the full Bench ignored binding findings by the late Judge Herbert Msimang in 2006 that the NPA admitted that its conduct had prejudiced him and struck the case off the court roll.