Zuma's conviction could lead to seizure of Nkandla

08 April 2018 - 00:02 By RANJENI MUNUSAMY
Jacob Zuma's homestead in Nkandla.
Jacob Zuma's homestead in Nkandla.
Image: Thembinkosi Dwayisa

The corruption case against former president Jacob Zuma is set to break open his personal financial matters and tax affairs, and, should he be convicted, the state could confiscate his Nkandla home for having been built with the "proceeds of crime".

Zuma also faces the risk of his personal finances, including his bond documents, which he has up to now failed to produce, being exposed in the trial.

Zuma's bank statements and tax filings would have to be produced to show the donations and soft loans he received from friends, family and benefactors to fund his lifestyle and pay for the Nkandla development.

Zuma made a short appearance in the High Court in Durban on Friday, facing charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering relating to the arms deal two decades ago. The matter was postponed to June 8 to give his legal team time to file an application to review the decision to reinstate the charges.

Prosecutor Billy Downer SC told Judge Themba Sishi the NPA was ready to recommence the trial and proposed a start date of November 12.

Zuma is expected to submit an application for a stay of prosecution.

Former President Jacob Zuma had his first court appearance in the Durban High Court on April 6 2018, for a case laid against him by the state for corruption charges.

He is accused of illicitly receiving R4,072,499 in 783 payments through Schabir Shaik, his former financial adviser, who was convicted in 2005 on similar charges.

In the Shaik trial, the defence admitted the payments were made to Zuma, but for altruistic purposes based on their long friendship. The state showed in that case an agreement between Shaik and Alain Thétard, the then local director of French arms company Thales, that Zuma be paid R500,000 a year.

The money was needed as Shaik was under pressure to make repayments for building work being done at Nkandla.

A lawyer close to the case said the trial would delve into Zuma's financial records, "which could cause a lot of discomfort" for him. "The danger is that if there is a conviction, it would mean that the initial refurbishments were done with the proceeds of crime. So the state could confiscate the property to be sold to recoup the costs," he said.