Zuma lauds report that ′clears′ him of massive corruption allegations | News | DW | 21.04.2016
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Zuma lauds report that 'clears' him of massive corruption allegations

The report exonerates Zuma of any wronging from a corruption scandal that once had more than 700 charges against Zuma. But a high court challenge is seeking to reinstate the charges against Zuma.

South African President Jacob Zuma is touting the results of a lengthy investigation into alleged corruption behind a huge arms deal in 1999 as proof the deal was above board.

Zuma was deputy president when the 30 billion rand (roughly $5 billion at the time) purchase of European military equipment was cemented. The deal cast a shadow over country's governance for years.

Zuma said he would soon make public the three-volume report that exonerates him.

"No evidence was found as well through the Commission's own independent inquiries," the president said on national television.

"The Commission states that the widespread allegations of bribery, corruption and fraud in the arms procurement process, especially in relation to the selection of the preferred bidders and costs, have found no support or corroboration in the evidence," Zuma's statement said.

"Government had been of the view that any findings pointing to wrongdoing should be given to law enforcement agencies for further action," he continued. "There are no such findings and the Commission does not make any recommendations."

Commission whitewash?

But critics dismissed the commission's report as a whitewash, noting that Zuma's former financial advisor Schabir Shaik was convicted of soliciting annual bribes of 500,000 rand for Zuma from a French arms manufacturer.

Paul Hoffman, a lawyer representing anti-corruption activists, likened the inquiry to "a farce."

Critics have long charged that the government-appointed commission was toothless and merely a tool being used to put the issue to rest. The commission suffered a series of controversial resignations of officials involved, including the departure of one of the three original judges.

At the time of the allegations, Zuma was a deputy to former President Thabu Mbeki. The president sacked Zuma after he was implicated in the deal. At root it was alleged that Zuma had offered to protect the French firm from an investigation.

Watch video 02:50
Now live
02:50 mins.

Calls for President Zuma's resignation

Zuma subsequently toppled Mbeki as leader of the African National Congress (ANC).

In 2005 advisor Shaik was jailed for 15 years, with the judge saying there was "overwhelming" evidence of a corrupt relationship between him and Zuma.

After serving little more than fours years Shaik was released in 2009 on "medical parole," which is reserved for terminally ill inmates - which doctors determined categorically that he was not.

A month later prosecutors dropped an investigation into more than 700 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering that were brought against Zuma. And a month after that Zuma was elected president.

But a High Court challenge is underway to reinstate the charges against Zuma.

bik/msh (Reuters, AFP)

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic