/LIVE: #ZumaTrial continues as Jacob Zumas lawyers seek to introduce last-minute evidence

LIVE: #ZumaTrial continues as Jacob Zumas lawyers seek to introduce last-minute evidence

2019-05-24 09:30

Former president Jacob Zuma’s legal battle continues in the KZN High Court in Pietermaritzburg, where he and co-accused Thales are seeking a permanent stay of prosecution.


(Courtesy of SABC) 

Former president Jacob Zuma in court


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Judge Steyn interrupts Katz – she wants to know how an unlawful decision to withdraw prosecution impacts on the decision to reinstate the charges later. 

Katz says he will deal with this question in his reply. 

“Thales had no role at all in the bad faith litigation, that had nothing to do with Thales,” Katz says.

“There is a suggestion that Thales was an incidental beneficiary of the NPA’s conduct. We turn that around, and say Thales was the victim,” Katz says, referring to the decision by Mpshe to withdraw charges, which the courts later declared unlawful.

Judge Poyo-Dlwati interrupts: “We have dealt with this issue…” She asks if the court’s finding that Mpshe’s decision was unlawful is not a special reason that speaks to why the charges were reinstated.

JUST IN: ‘Dead’ former Thales boss and Zuma trial witness Alain Thétard found alive in Europe 

Even though former president Jacob Zuma’s legal team told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg this week that a key witness and co-conspirator in the alleged corruption that led to him being charged was dead, investigators have found him in Europe.

Alain Thétard, controversial former head of Thales South Africa and author of the infamous encrypted fax, has been traced, News24 has confirmed.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) received confirmation of his whereabouts after it submitted its court papers on March 11.

In court documents and in oral arguments this week in Zuma’s and Thales’ applications for a permanent stay of prosecution, the court heard from the Zuma team that Thétard was deceased. 


Mbeki, Maduna and the bribes probe: Late drama in Zuma case 

A mysterious letter, believed to be correspondence between the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks, surfaced late on Thursday at the ongoing application for a permanent stay of prosecution by former president Jacob Zuma.

At the 11th hour on Thursday, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane who is representing Zuma, in his reply to the State’s arguments against the applications by Zuma and his co-accused, French company Thales, attempted to introduce a letter to the proceedings.

Five minutes before the close of the day’s proceedings, Sikhakhane told a full bench of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg that he wished to read a letter into the record that spoke of an investigation the NPA was inquiring about in March 2018. 


Conspiracy theories aside, the case against Mr Zuma is very strong – State 

The reason for the decision to prosecute former president Jacob Zuma for racketeering, money laundering, fraud and corruption, does not matter, even if it is politically motivated.

This is one of the arguments advocate Wim Trengove, SC, is expected to put to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday when he argues against Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Trengove is expected to point out to the court that the case against Zuma is very strong and that evidence exists to prove his guilt. 


Fire and fury from the bench as Thales tries to create distance between itself and Zuma 

Arms company Thales has tried to distance itself from former president Jacob Zuma, as both parties seek a permanent stay of prosecution on charges relating to the now-infamous Arms Deal.

But this angle from Thales’ lawyers on Tuesday sparked a volley of questions from a full bench in the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

Zuma is accused of taking bribes from Thales (then Thomson CSF) during the Arms Deal in the late 1990’s. Zuma and Thales have filed applications for a permanent stay of prosecution. 


Apartheid laws and conspiracies: ‘You can’t conspire to charge an innocent citizen like Zuma’ 

Former president Jacob Zuma on Monday took a swipe at the National Prosecuting Authority, saying prosecutors had been “ambitious” to charge him.

He told a group of supporters gathered outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, who waited for hours to hear him speak, that the case against him was 15 years old, and he did not understand why it was still being pursued.

He compared the actions of prosecutors to Apartheid-era justice – echoing his lawyer advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, who also drew parallels between Zuma’s corruption case and Apartheid laws.


There is a witch hunt against me, Zuma tells supporters outside court 

Former President Jacob Zuma has labelled the corruption trial against him a politically-motivated witch hunt and says his lawyers will show the court how the NPA conspired to prevent him from becoming president.

“Those who were meant to be witnesses have even forgotten their testimony. Some have died,” he told supporters in isiZulu outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

“We are now arguing that if this trial continues, it’s just a witch hunt. We can’t have a trial based on this. We argue this trial is not fresh and witnesses have died and the presiding judges have retired.” 


‘Spy tapes’ rehashed: Zuma is the victim here, says lawyer 

During then-president Jacob Zuma and French arms dealer Thales’ application for a permanent stay of prosecution on Monday, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC turned to transcripts of the Spy Tapes to illustrate that Zuma was victimised.

Sikhakhane’s aim in reading sections of the Spy Tapes into the record was two-fold: “I want to show the disdain with which they discuss Mr Zuma,” he told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

He also used this as his hammer to drive home the sharp wedge of his argument – that the National Prosecuting Authority acted “unconstitutionally” in the way it handled Zuma and the corruption charges against him.


Zuma should have been charged in 2005 with Shaik – defence 

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg heard on Monday morning that former president Jacob Zuma should have been charged in 2005 alongside his financial advisor Schabir Shaik. 

This was argued by Zuma’s own lawyer, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, who is trying to persuade the court to grant an application for a permanent stay of prosecution. The matter is being heard by a full bench, consisting of Judges Bhekisisa Mnguni, Tholo Poyo-Dlwati and Esther Steyn.

Zuma and French arms company Thales are facing charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and racketeering for a series of alleged bribes paid to Zuma through Shaik, during the multibillion-rand arms deal in the late 1990s. Shaik was found guilty of fraud and corruption in June 2005 for irregularities surrounding the same matter, and sentenced to an effective 15 years behind bars. 


Jacob Zuma’s last gasp? What you need to know about the former president’s latest legal tussle 

Former President Jacob Zuma will this week take the plunge in what will likely be his final opportunity to dodge a series of corruption charges he has successfully side-stepped for more than a decade.

Zuma is set to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for four days this week when a full bench will hear his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

If Zuma is successful he will be immune from these charges, which relate to alleged bribes paid to him by French arms company Thales – one of the successful contractors in the multi-billion rand Arms Deal. 

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