Jacob Zuma jail sentence

Jacob Zuma is set to recieve a bull as a gift from ANC councillors. Image: GCIS/ Flickr

Arms deal trial to go ahead as Zuma’s leave for appeal bid DISMISSED

The arms deal trial is set to go ahead on 11 April 2022 – just a day before former president Jacob Zuma’s 80th birthday

Jacob Zuma jail sentence

Jacob Zuma is set to recieve a bull as a gift from ANC councillors. Image: GCIS/ Flickr

In yet another legal blow for former president Jacob Zuma, the High Court in Pietermaritzburg has dismissed his application for leave to appeal the dismissal of his special plea, paving the way for the beginning of his trial in April.

In the eight-part judgement, Judge Piet Koen ruled that that the arms deal trial should go ahead, with Advocate Billy Downer remaining the prosecutor.

Zuma’s legal team had wanted Downer removed from the case, arguing prosecutorial misconduct. They claim there have been at least a dozen instances where Downer has acted unethically as a prosecutor and were confident that another court, presumably the Supreme Court of Appeal, would agree and order that he be replaced.

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Judge Piet Koen found that Jacob Zuma’s special plea has no reasonable prospects of success.

“Resorting to appeals prior to the finalisation of the trial results in delay, fragmentation of the process and the determination of issues based on an inadequate record. There are no compelling considerations to the contrary requiring that an appeal be permitted now,” Judge Koen said.

But it’s not all bad news for Zuma as the judge added that he could still challenge the outcome of the trial at a later stage.

Koen said that Zuma could still challenge the court outcome at a later stage.

“That does not mean that Mr Zuma could not ultimately appeal the dismissal of the special plea but only that he cannot do so now. The trial must first be completed,” he said.

Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering, and money-laundering related to the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal in the late 1990s. The former president is alleged to have received 783 suspicious payments to the tune of R1.2 million from Thales, through his disgraced former financial advisor Shabir Shaik. Zuma has denied the allegations and claims they are politically motivated.