South Africa′s Jacob Zuma to stand trial for corruption | News | DW | 11.10.2019
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South Africa's Jacob Zuma to stand trial for corruption

The former South African president has been denied a stay of prosecution to prevent him from being charged in a graft case. He faces 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

South African former-President Jacob Zuma has lost his bid to have a corruption case against him dropped, which he claims is politically motivated. A court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday denied Zuma a permanent stay of prosecution.

Zuma, who was in office from 2009-2018, has been accused of taking bribes from French defense company Thales in connection with a 1999 multi-billion dollar arms purchase, which he oversaw as vice president.

The charges against Zuma were originally filed a decade ago but then set aside by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) shortly before he ran for president in 2009.

If convicted, he could face 25 years in prison.

Read more: South Africa: Where power corrupts and corruption empowers

'Scandalous, vexatious'

The NPA said Zuma's arguments against the case were "scandalous and/or vexatious" and argued that there was a clear public interest in ensuring the case move forward and no evidence of political motivation or prejudice, as claimed by Zuma's legal team.

Read more: South Africa struggles to combat its problems with violence 

The 77-year-old's trial is scheduled to begin on October 15. Zuma, who slipped out of the court quietly after the decision, can appeal the ruling or ask for a postponement.

Zuma was forced to resign in 2018 in connection with separate corruption accusations involving the influential and controversial Gupta family, who have also been subject to US sanctions.

Meanwhile, his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has vowed to crack down on the corruption that has eroded support for Zuma's and Ramaphosa's party, the African National Congress (ANC). It has ruled the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.

ng/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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