NPA loses bid against 'spy tapes' story

The NPA has lost its bid to stop the Sunday Times from distributing editions with the ‘Zuma spy tapes’ story.

The NPA has lost its bid to stop the Sunday Times from distributing editions with the ‘Zuma spy tapes’ story.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) lost an urgent court bid to stop the _Sunday Times _newspaper from publishing Sunday's lead story about why the NPA decided to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma in 2009.

The paper reported that prosecutors were overwhelmingly in favour of proceeding with the corruption and money laundering charges against Zuma.

But then National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mokotedi Mpshe ignored the prosecutors' advice.

The Sunday Times said it had more than 300 emails which showed that prosecutors dismissed the so called 'spy types' that were used to let Zuma off the hook as irrelevant.

The emails apparently reveal that the now defunct Scorpions, who were prosecuting Zuma, believed he was trying to blackmail them, saying he would release the 'spy tapes' and embarrass the NPA.

The Sunday Times reported that prosecutors encouraged Mpshe to proceed with the corruption case against Zuma.

At the time, Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley approached the Asset Forfeiture Unit's boss Willie Hofmeyr with phone tapes of Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy.

The tapes allegedly revealed that McCarthy was "part of a campaign for Thabo Mbeki" to win at the ANC's elective conference in Polokwane in 2007.

On Saturday, the NPA tried to stop the story from being published but North Gauteng High Court acting Judge Nomsa Khumalo said interdicting the paper's distribution process would serve no purpose since the paper was already in circulation.