Zuma to face trial on 16 charges

Former President Jacob Zuma is to face trial on 16 charges, one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.

The charges relate to payments that Schabir Shaik made to Jacob Zuma in the 1990s and early party of this century allegedly in connection with an arms deal. Schabir Shaik was subsequently sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. The judge at that trial indicated that given Schabir Shaik had been found guilty the person he gave money to, Jacob Zuma should face charges. He was duly charged. However after several years political and procedural wrangling it was held charges against Jacob Zuma were politically motivated and dropped shortly before he became President. The opposition party, Democratic Alliance eventually got the Supreme Court of Appeal to rule. It said if the charges had some merit the motivation was irrelevant and the charges needed to be tested in court. The Director of Public Prosecutions who Zuma had appointed was then required to consider reinstating the charges. After considering representations from Jacob Zuma he has now decided that Jacob Zuma should face trial on 16 charges.

Jacob Zuma maintains the charges should not be brought and that he is innocent. Schabir Shaik is reported as saying the payments, 783 in total, were a form of interest free loan from one friend to another. There is likely to be further legal argument and submissions which may mean it will be quite some time, if ever that Jacob Zuma is in the dock on these charges.

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