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Zuma’s arms deal trial put on ice

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has adjourned the trial of former President Jacob Zuma to May 17.

Judge Piet Koen postponed the trial pending Zuma’s application before Justice Mandisa Maya of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to review his dismissed appeal to remove Billy Downer SC as lead prosecutor in his case.

The SCA dismissed Zuma’s application on March 31, saying it lacks the ground to succeed.

Zuma, on the other hand, argued that Downer was biased and obsessed with his case.

“What former President Zuma wants is a fair trial and he will do everything he can to ensure that the constitutional promises of the rule of law and equality before the law are implemented fairly for all,” according to the JZ Foundation.

The foundation declared in a statement that all Zuma wants is his day in court, a fair trial, not a forum that is rigged by the state, and all the previous unfair and inaccurate judgments that will hopefully be overturned by the higher court

On March 16, 2018, more than a month after Zuma left the presidency, the National Prosecuting Authority said it would reopen 16 charges filed against him in 2006.

The charges include 12 counts of fraud, two counts of corruption, and one count each of racketeering and money laundering, all of which are connected to the 1999 arms deal and Zuma’s association with Schabir Shaik.

When the trial began on May 26, 2021, Zuma pleaded not guilty and the trial, which was to begin on April 11, 2022, was adjourned to May 17.

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