- Jacob Zuma - justice - South Africa
For the umpteenth time, Jacob Zuma appealed to avoid facing trial on corruption charges — this time at the Pietermaritzburg high court in South Africa. The president of the African National Congress still refuses to answer the 16 charges (including fraud, corruption, money laundering and tax evasion) brought against him over an arms deal with the company Thint, the South African branch of the French arms company Thales.
Zuma faces trial after several years of investigations and legal procedures. He was first indicted after his financial advisor was condemned in 2005, but a judge decided to abandon the case due to lack of proof.
Zuma lawyer's, Kemp J. Kemp, declared today in court that it was illegal to reverse this judicial decision. He even accused the chief prosecutor of refusing to listen to Zuma’s version of the events before indicting him.
The trial should resume Tuesday and examine the arguments of the prosecution.
The in-depth examination of the case could be adjourned until a later date to allow the court enough time to examine Kemp’s appeal for the case to be dismissed. The defense team has already made it clear that they would file a second appeal for dismissal in November if the present appeal was rejected.
Zuma stands a very good chance of replacing President Thabo Mbeki during the 2009 presidential elections and is striving to avoid any condemnation beforehand.