Jacob Zuma To Face Trial For Corruption

South Africa’s former President, Jacob Zuma, is to face prosecution for 16 charges of corruption, Chief Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams has confirmed.

Mr Abrahams said he believed there were “reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution”.

The charges – which Mr Zuma denies – include counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Mr Zuma, 75, was forced to resign as president last month by his party, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

He was facing his ninth no-confidence vote in parliament before he left office.

The charges relate to a 30bn rand ($2.5bn; £1.7bn) government arms deal in the late 1990s, before he became president.

Mr Zuma faces one charge of racketeering, two charges of corruption, one charge of money laundering and 12 of fraud.

Shaun Abrahams, head of the National Prosecuting Authority, said a trial court was the appropriate place for the matter to be decided.

He dismissed representations made by Mr Zuma asking that the charges be dropped.

The former ANC chief had argued that the charges against him were characterised by misconduct, “irrational behaviour” and media leaks on the part of prosecutors, Mr Abrahams said.

Mr Zuma has always denied claims that he received bribes from bidders in the deal.

* First filed in 2005 when Mr Zuma’s financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was jailed for fraud and corruption.

* Mr Zuma went on trial in 2006 but the case collapsed when the prosecution said it was not ready to proceed more than a year after he was charged.

* South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) controversially dropped the charges in 2009, shortly before he won the presidency.

* Political opponents campaigned tirelessly for him to face trial.

* South Africa’s High Court reinstated the charges in 2016 and Mr Zuma lost a Supreme Court appeal to overturn them.

* The country’s chief prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, has now decided to pursue a case against the former president.

Mr Zuma weathered an array of corruption allegations during his nine years in power.

In 2016, a report by South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog alleged that the billionaire Gupta family had exploited their ties with him to win state contracts.

Both the Guptas and Mr Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

The same year, South Africa’s highest court ruled that Mr Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.

An anti-corruption body found he had spent $23m (£15m) on refurbishments including a swimming pool and an amphitheatre. He has since repaid some of the money.

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