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Zuma's corruption trial postponed by judge

Latest update : 2008-05-15

ANC president and main RSA presidency front runner Jacob Zuma saw his corruption trial adjourned Thursday by a high court judge "to a date to be determined by the trial judge." Zuma's charges include money laundering, tax evasion and racketeering.

The corruption trial of South Africa's ruling party leader Jacob Zuma, which was due to begin in August, is to be adjourned, a high court judge said on Thursday.
  
KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Vuka Tshabalala said in a statement he would "appoint a trial judge to hear a preliminary application in Pietermaritzburg on August 4 and the trial will be adjourned to a date to be determined by the trial judge."
  
Tshabalala met with Zuma's attorneys and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Thursday to discuss the court date, after it emerged prosecutors had failed to consult judicial authorities to appoint a judge to hear the case.
  
Zuma's defence team would be applying at the August hearing for a review of the case, the second attempt to have him prosecuted for corruption, and could also seek to have it thrown out altogether, the NPA said.
  
Zuma's lawyers argue that the time lag of seven years since the investigation was launched has compromised the prospects of a fair trial.
  
The NPA has repeatedly come under fire for its handling of the investigation, and the original corruption case against Zuma was struck off the roll in 2006.
  
At that time Judge Herbert Msimang said the state's case had "limped from one disaster to another" and it should have investigated further before charging Zuma.
  
Prosecutor Billy Downer told AFP the state was ready to proceed with the trial, which was meant to begin in August after Zuma was slapped with a host of new charges, including money laundering, racketeering and tax evasion, along with the original charges.
  
"It was decided Mr Zuma will bring an application on the 4 August to have the decision of the prosecution reviewed. His lawyers may also bring another application for a permanent stay of prosecution, and the parties requested that a trial judge be appointed," Downer said.
  
Zuma, 66, who toppled South African President Thabo Mbeki as leader of the ANC at a conference in December, was recharged shortly after he was elected. He is the favourite to succeed Mbeki as president of the country next year.

Date created : 2008-05-15

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