Zuma expected to plead not guilty in arms deal case today

Zuma and French arms company Thales face corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering charges linked to the multibillion-rand arms deal.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma who is facing fraud and corruption charges greets supporters in the gallery of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 17 May 2021. Picture: Rogan Ward/AFP

DURBAN – Former President Jacob Zuma expected to plead not guilty when he returns to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday.

Zuma and French arms company Thales face corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering charges linked to the multibillion-rand arms deal.

Last Monday, the matter was postponed to Wednesday after Zuma’s lawyers indicated an intention to file a special plea in terms of Section 106 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

In court papers seen by Eyewitness News, Zuma has called for the removal of lead State prosecutor advocate Billy Downer from the case.

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Zuma has alleged that Downer lacks “independence and impartiality.”

He has referred to Downer’s affidavit during the Democratic Alliance’s successful court action, which led to the National Prosecuting Authority to reinstate charges against him.

Zuma said this made Downer unable to conduct a “lawful prosecution” that would uphold his constitutional rights to a fair trial.

But the State has rubbished Zuma’s contentions, calling them a “regurgitation of false claims” previously made by the former president.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court is expected to issue its decision on Zuma’s Section 106 application on the matter after being addressed by both the defence and the State.

WATCH: Jacob Zuma corruption trial postponed to today



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