NPA de­nies it paid Kh­wezi to ac­cuse Zuma

JZ says rape case part of smear cam­paign

Sowetan - - News - By Karyn Maughan

The Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) has de­nied that it ever made any pay­ments to the woman who ac­cused for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma of rape – and says she was “pro­tected and housed” by the po­lice in a safe house.

The state was re­spond­ing to a se­ries of de­mands by Zuma’s lawyers for in­for­ma­tion he be­lieves is rel­e­vant to his ap­pli­ca­tion for a per­ma­nent stay of his cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tion.

It has also handed over the “ma­te­ri­als re­lat­ing to the in­come tax of­fences” which re­late to Zuma’s al­leged fail­ures to sub­mit tax re­turns from 1995 to 2003 and de­clare in­come of R2.7m, as well as the al­leged eva­sion of R1.6m in tax.

Zuma set­tled with Sars after the 2007 in­dict­ment against him. But the state’s lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor ar­gued to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court that this did not mean he should be let off the hook. “The ‘reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion’ of his tax af­fairs after years of delin­quency does not ex­cul­pate him any more than a thief who re­pays the stolen money, or a sho­plifter who at­tempts to re­place the stolen goods on the shelf after he is caught,” Col Jo­han du Plooy stated.

The state has fur­ther pro­vided the ev­i­dence in front of for­mer na­tional di­rec­tor Bule­lani Ngcuka when he de­cided not to put Zuma on trial with his for­mer fi­nan­cial ad­viser Sch­abir Shaik in Au­gust 2003.

Ngcuka said – while the state be­lieved it had a prima fa­cie cor­rup­tion case against Zuma – it was un­sure whether that case was “winnable”.

Zuma main­tains that he “vir­tu­ally chal­lenged and in­vited the NPA to charge me and re­solve is­sues of my guilt once and for all in a trial” at that time, and ar­gues Ngcuka’s fail­ure to do so was part of a con­spir­acy to neu­tralise him po­lit­i­cally.

The NPA will file its re­sponse to these and other ac­cu­sa­tions in the com­ing months.

In May this year, the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg high court will hear ar­gu­ments on why the case against Zuma and French arms com­pany Thales should or should not go ahead.

In 1997, the French arms com­pany scored a R2.6bn con­tract to pro­vide four navy frigates to SA, as part of the wider R60bn arms deal.

As cor­rup­tion ru­mours grew, the state al­leges that Thales agreed in 2002 to pay R500,000 to Zuma, then SA’s deputy pres­i­dent, for his “po­lit­i­cal pro­tec­tion” in any in­ves­ti­ga­tion – a deal al­legedly bro­kered by Shaik.

Zuma’s per­ma­nent stay ap­pli­ca­tion is his last hope of stop­ping his trial on these charges from pro­ceed­ing.

He says his pros­e­cu­tion has been de­signed “to prej­u­dice me and de­clare me syn­ony­mous with crime and cor­rup­tion”.

“With­out court de­ter­mi­na­tion of my guilt or oth­er­wise, I have faced pub­lic and me­dia pros­e­cu­tion en­gi­neered and or­ches­trated by the NPA it­self, the re­sult of which is that my name has al­ready been made to be syn­ony­mous with cor­rup­tion,” he said in court pa­pers.

He ac­cuses the NPA of “17 years of de­lay …leav­ing me… hav­ing to re­call past events with the nor­mal fal­li­bil­ity that I have in com­mon with other hu­man be­ings of mem­ory …”.

Zuma fur­ther main­tains that the NPA should an­swer to al­le­ga­tions that “pub­lic and pri­vate funds were used to in­flu­ence the rape charge” laid against him over a decade ago.

Fezeka “Kh­wezi” Kuzwayo went into hid­ing after she ac­cused him of rape in 2005. Fol­low­ing Zuma’s ac­quit­tal, she fled the coun­try. She died over two years ago.

In court pa­pers Zuma has sug­gested that the rape case was part of “con­certed ef­forts to get me con­victed of a crime” and rule him out of the ANC’s 2007 lead­er­ship race.

/SIMPHIWE NKWALI

Ja­cob Zuma says his name has been made syn­ony­mous with cor­rup­tion.

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