S. Africa’s Zuma loses bid to appeal against bribe trial

In this file photo taken October 15, 2019 South Africa’s embattled former president Jacob Zuma appears in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on corruption charges. — AFP
In this file photo taken October 15, 2019 South Africa’s embattled former president Jacob Zuma appears in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on corruption charges. — AFP

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 29 — A South African court today dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s attempts to appeal against a corruption trial in which he faces charges related to a 1990s arms deal.

The High Court in the southeastern city of Pietermaritzburg ruled that “Mr Zuma’s leave to appeal is dismissed with costs”.

Zuma filed an appeal last month ahead of the initial October 15 trial date, dragging on a case that has seen numerous legal turns over a decade and a half.

He is alleged to have taken bribes worth four million rand (RM1.1 million) related to a US$3.4 billion arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president.

In all Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment when he was deputy to the country’s second black president, Thabo Mbeki.

Both Zuma and French defence company Thales, which supplied equipment for navy vessels, deny the charges.

Thales’s application for permission to appeal against the trial was also thrown out at the same time as Zuma’s.

Both Zuma and Thales, have the option to approach the Supreme Court in their push to dodge trial, legal analyst Mphulelelo Zikalala, suggested that “the prospects of success are slim”.

Zuma was forced to step down last year by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a nine-year reign marked by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity. — AFP

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