Zuma's lawyer says bid to overturn Abrahams decision is 'likely'
Former president Jacob Zuma is likely to challenge the decision to reinstate criminal charges against him‚ his lawyer said on Saturday.
Michael Hulley issued a brief statement saying a decision would be made only “after careful consideration and consultation with Mr Zuma”.
His statement said: “We are giving consideration to the one-page and somewhat terse response received from the National Director of Public Prosecutions wherein he has advised that the representations made on behalf of Mr Jacob Zuma are unsuccessful.
“The rationale for this decision is not clearly apparent from the communication‚ nor is the basis for the refusal.
“In the circumstances‚ the likely course of action would be to take the decision of the NDPP on review.”
Exactly 24 hours earlier‚ NDPP Shaun Abrahams said Zuma would go on trial for the 2009 string of charges that had been brought against him.
“I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Zuma in the charges listed in the indictment‚” Abrahams told a news conference.
Zuma faces 16 charges‚ involving 783 incidents‚ of racketeering‚ corruption‚ money laundering and fraud.
The National Prosecuting Authority in KwaZulu-Natal will facilitate the trial.
The charges relate to a multi-billion rand government arms deal in the late 1990s. Zuma — then deputy president — was linked to the deal through Schabir Shaik‚ his former financial adviser who was jailed for corruption.
Shaik’s conviction almost torpedoed Zuma’s bid for president but the charges against him were dropped on a technicality in 2009.
The High Court reinstated the charges in 2016 and the Supreme Court upheld that decision last year‚ rejecting an appeal by Zuma and describing the NPA’s initial decision to set aside the charges as “irrational”.
Shaik was found guilty of fraud in 2005 and sentenced to 15 years‚ while Zuma walked away unscathed.
Shaik was released on medical parole in March 2009‚ after serving just over two years of his 15-year sentence. He was convicted on two counts of corruption and one of fraud‚ relating to his facilitation of a bribe‚ allegedly by French arms company Thint‚ to Zuma.