15 October 2019
South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma (in picture) is expected in court on corruption charges today. Representatives of Thales will also appear in courts along with Zuma on charges of paying the bribes. Both Zuma and Thales deny the charges. He faces one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.
Former President Jacob Zuma will file an application for leave to appeal a High Court judgment that dismissed his application for a permanent stay of public prosecution in his corruption case.
Court proceedings for former South African president Jacob Zuma were pushed back to 4 February on Tuesday as his legal team said it would appeal a ruling dismissing its attempt to halt prosecution on graft charges for good.
Jacob Zuma was last on trial for his role in an illicit arms deal with Thales 14 years ago. Then acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mphse withdrew charges against Zuma in 2009, on the grounds that there was political interference in the case.
Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who allegedly facilitated Thales’s payments, was found guilty of fraud and corruption in 2005 and was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Shaik was convicted for making regular, corrupt payments to Zuma between 1995 and 2002.
Now Zuma is accused of taking kickbacks before he became president from the $3.5bn contract in 1990 to purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment manufactured by five European firms, including French defence company Thales. He is accused of receiving illicit payments amounting to $270 million from this arms deal. At that time he was provincial economy minister and deputy ANC president.
The Gupta brothers—Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh—moved from India to South Africa in 1993. They are accused of massive corruption involving public funds and public office. The Gupta family is now counted as among the richest in South Africa.