Key witness in Jacob Zuma arms deal case dies but NPA says trial will not be affected
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says the death of Johan van der Walt, the key witness in former president Jacob Zuma’s arms deal case, will not affect proceedings.
“His passing on will have no impact on the case as FTI Consulting retains the brief, and arrangements will be made in due course for another qualified forensic accountant to present the report,” NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga told TimesLIVE.
He said the organisation was saddened by Van der Walt’s death.
News24 reported on Sunday that Van der Walt, auditor and author of the forensic report that is crucial in Zuma’s corruption case coming up next month, died of natural causes.
Zuma is accused of receiving an annual bribe of R500,000 from French arms dealer Thales for protection from an investigation into the controversial arms deal.
The alleged bribe was facilitated by Schabir Shaik, who was Zuma’s former financial adviser.
“As the author of KPMG's forensic investigation into money flows between Shaik and Zuma, Van der Walt would have been the state's chief witness in the trial, as he was in Shaik's trial,” News24 reported.
Van der Walt was MD at FTI Consulting. He previously worked at KPMG as a partner and forensic auditor.
Zuma is serving 15 months in jail for contempt of the Constitutional Court ruling that he present himself before the state capture inquiry.
He has been under medical supervision by staff from the SA Military Health Services since his admission at the Estcourt Correctional Centre.
Zuma could not attend his arms deal case last week and it was postponed to September 9 and 10 as a result of his hospitalisation.