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‘Spy tapes judgment doesn’t mean Zuma is guilty’

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The High Court in Pretoria’s ruling on Friday that the decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma was irrational does not mean that he is guilty, the ANC said on Friday.

“It is important to note that the court did not deal with the merits of any allegations against President Zuma, nor did it make any finding declaring guilt on any matter against President Zuma,” ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

“Today’s judgment was solely a judicial review of an administrative action taken by the NPA as allowed for in our law. We trust that it shall therefore not be used by any in our society to infer any culpability in any crime or offence by the president.”

Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba said on Friday that Zuma should face the charges that were dropped.

“Having regard to the evidence before us, we find that Mr Mpshe found himself under pressure and he decided to discontinue the prosecution of Mr Zuma and consequently made an irrational decision,” Ledwaba said.

In September 2008, Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson dismissed criminal charges against Zuma, citing a political conspiracy to influence the case by former president Thabo Mbeki and others.

Nicholson’s decision was taken to the Supreme Court of Appeal, and overturned. Zuma subsequently appealed this in the Constitutional Court, setting in motion a direct approach to the NPA to make written and oral representations on why the case should be dropped.

On April 6, 2009, then-NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe said recordings of telephone conversations between then-Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, showed political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.

The two were recorded discussing the timing of bringing charges against Zuma. The charges related to his alleged involvement in the country’s multi-billion rand arms deal.

Zuma’s former financial advisor Schabir Schaik was found guilty of fraud and corruption by the Durban High Court in June 2005. He tried to solicit a bribe for Zuma from a French arms company involved in the deal.

On April 7, 2009, the charges against Zuma were withdrawn in the High Court in Durban.

Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president in May that year, following general elections.

Kodwa said that the ANC has consistently supported the legal maxim that justice delayed is justice denied.

“This matter has dragged on for close to a decade and the ANC is pleased, therefore, that it now appears closer to resolution, seven years since the NPA decision,” he said.

“We once again reaffirm our full confidence in our legal system, with its adequate and extensive checks and balances designed to protect and promote accountability and transparency.

[Source: News24]
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