Jacob Zuma Billy downer

Former South African President Jacob Zuma sits in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 31 January, 2022. – Zuma seeks leave to appeal Judge Piet Koen’s decision to keep State prosecutor Billy Downer on the case. He is in court facing charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering. Photo: Jerome Delay / POOL / AFP

Another legal blow for Zuma as NPA DECLINES to prosecute Downer

Former president Jacob Zuma now has three months to pursue private prosecution against Billy Downer, if he wishes

Jacob Zuma Billy downer

Former South African President Jacob Zuma sits in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 31 January, 2022. – Zuma seeks leave to appeal Judge Piet Koen’s decision to keep State prosecutor Billy Downer on the case. He is in court facing charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering. Photo: Jerome Delay / POOL / AFP

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has opted against prosecuting Advocate Billy Downer – as it reckons there is no case to be made against him. Former president Jacob Zuma laid a criminal charge against Downer, who is the prosecutor in his arms deal trial, last year, for allegedly leaking his medical records.

Zuma has previously tried to have him removed from the case but failed.

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Former president Jacob Zuma now has three months to pursue private prosecution against Billy Downer, if he wishes. In the meantime, the NPA says the arms deal trial will resume on 15 August.

All this comes a month after the Supreme Court of Appeal Judge President Mandisa Maya dismissed Zuma’s bid to have Downer removed.

The High Court in Pietermaritzburg had previously dismissed Zuma’s application for leave to appeal its decision that Downer stay on the matter. Zuma’s legal team had wanted Downer removed from his corruption trial, arguing prosecutorial misconduct. They claim there have been at least a dozen instances where Downer has acted unethically as a prosecutor.

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.

As if that isn’t enough, the former president faces another battle. The appeal bid against the decision to grant him medical parole will be heard in August

Former national commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser released Zuma from the Estcourt Correctional Facility in KwaZulu-Natal last year. Zuma had been sentenced to 15 months behind bars for being in contempt of Constitutional Court. This is after Zuma had refused to abide by a decision made by the same court.