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South African High Court orders Zuma to answer for arms deal scandal

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Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s efforts to stop his prosecution in a 2.5-billion-dollar arms deal scandal trial failed on Friday, 11 October 2019, after the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled against him.

Zuma was present in court when judges Bhekisisa Mnguni, Thoba Poyo-Dlwati and Ester Steyn ruled against him in the long-running legal battle that dates back to 2005 when he was dismissed from the state deputy presidency by former president Thabo Mbeki over the scandal.

Following the dismissal, the court ordered Zuma to appear in court on Tuesday, 15 October 2019, to face the arms deal corruption charges.

Zuma’s co-accused, French arms company, Thales, has also applied for a permanent stay of prosecution of the charges. However, a decision on Thales has yet to be made.

The French firm allegedly agreed to pay Zuma a 70 000-dollar annual bribe for protection from any investigation into the controversial multi-billion-dollar arms deal.

Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was accused of facilitating the alleged bribe, was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years for his part in the scandal.

Shaik, however, only served a brief sentence before the then president used his powers of office to pardon his friend on medical grounds amid an uproar.

Zuma has yet to react to the setback.



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