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Alleged Corruption: Ex-South African President, Zuma Seeks To Challenge Special Plea Ruling

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Ex President Jacob Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma is seeking to appeal his special plea ruling.

He had sought to have Billy Downer removed as the lead prosecutor in his corruption trial.

The NPA said on Friday it would oppose Zuma’s application for leave to appeal.
Former president Jacob Zuma’s legal team has filed court papers for leave to appeal the KwaZulu-Natal High Court’s decision to dismiss his special plea to have State advocate Billy Downer recused.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed the latest development on Friday afternoon.

NPA spokesperson, advocate Mthunzi Mhaga, said: “The NPA confirms that Mr Zuma has filed application for leave to appeal the judgment on 10 November 2021, we will oppose the application at a date to be arranged with the court.”

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On 26 October, the High Court ruled that Zuma had failed to prove that Downer lacked the “title” to prosecute him.

Zuma had claimed Downer lacked the independence and impartiality to conduct the case lawfully.

The judge dismissed the matter and directed that Zuma’s corruption trial should proceed in April next year.

The former president faces 16 charges relating to 783 payments he allegedly received from his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, as well as a R500 000-a-year bribe that the State said Shaik facilitated for him from French arms company Thales.

In May, Zuma pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, including corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering, News24 reported.

In his judgment, Koen said many of the allegations Zuma raised against Downer were based on speculation or suspicion or inadmissible hearsay – not on facts.

The former president had accused Downer of turning his criminal case into “a personal legacy project of his own”.

The NPA previously pointed out the courts had already conclusively found that an application for the removal of a prosecutor on the basis of bias or apprehension of bias could not be conflated with a challenge to the prosecutor’s “title” to prosecute – which was often raised when non-State advocates were briefed to pursue private prosecutions.

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Zuma had asked that the prosecutor, Billy Downer, be removed from the case, saying he was neither independent nor impartial.

Judge Piet Koen on Tuesday morning ruled on former president Jacob Zuma’s application for a “special plea”. Koen read a summary of his judgment, which is 107 pages long in the Pietermartizburg High Court.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial will resume on 11 April 2022. Judge Piet Koen, dismissed Zuma’s special plea to have state prosecutor Billy Downer removed and ordered that the trial proceed.

Judge Piet Koen dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s special plea for removing state prosecutor Billy Downer from his corruption trial.

South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma attends court in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg where he is on trial for corruption.

Zuma’s trial is expected to start on 11 April 2022.

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Hammed Tajudeen is the editor in-chief of Blaze News, holds Higher National Diploma(HND) in Mass Communication, graduated from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.

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