The Arms Deal corruption trial, involving former President Jacob Zuma and Thales, will be postponed in absentia.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), on Monday afternoon, said the matter would be postponed in absentia of the accused and all legal counsel on Tuesday 8 September 2020, as agreed upon by the parties involved.
BACK AND FORTH REGARDING ZUMA CORRUPTION TRIAL
On Sunday 6 September, the Jacob Zuma Foundation criticised the NPA for its unreadiness regarding the trial.
The foundation said Zuma was more than ready for the commencement of the trial. It also said the media, together with the NPA have accused Zuma of initiating delaying tactics when in actual fact, it’s the NPA who has been holding back on proceedings.
The statement read; “The foundation expresses its disappointment with the NPA’s state of unreadiness to proceed with its long-awaited trial against president Zuma”.
“Ordinarily, our courts should remove the matter from the roll until the NPA and Thales have finalised their dispute,” it added.
The NPA said the trial would take place on Tuesday 8 September but later confirmed that Zuma, nor legal counsel would appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
ARMS DEAL TRIAL
Zuma and French arms company Thales, a co-accused in the trial, face 12 counts of fraud, four counts of corruption, one count of racketeering and another for money laundering. If found guilty, Zuma could face a maximum of 25 years in prison. It was reported that Thales made a R500 000 bribe to Zuma, seeking protection from the investigation while the underhanded Arms Deal was seen through.
On 11 October 2019, the Pietermaritzburg High Court handed down a devastating verdict for the former president. The ruling dismissed Zuma’s defence and left him open to serious criminal charges relating to the Arms Deal.
Just three weeks later, Zuma approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and filed an application, claiming that the charges levelled against him are nothing but an orchestrated attack to diminish his legacy.
Zuma further claimed that he has been used as the scapegoat in a multibillion-rand arms deal that involved people much closer to the transaction, such as Thabo Mbeki, who was the state president at the time.
The failed application in October 2019 stemmed from the notorious 1999 Arms Deal, in which R30 billion was allotted to the procurement of arms from various international manufacturers. Investigators found that bribery and corruption involving high-ranking African National Congress (ANC) officials were grounds for imprisonment.
Read the original article on The South African