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NPA abused its power in pursuing charges against Thales, court hears

Thales faces charges of paying bribes to Jacob Zuma for protection against an investigation into the controversial arms deal.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma, along with co-accused, Thales representative Christine Guerrier, appeared in the Durban High Court on 8 June 2018. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Pool.

PIETERMARITZBURG – The French company accused of bribing Jacob Zuma has suggested to the Pietermaritzburg High Court that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has abused its power in pursuing charges against the arms company.

Thales faces charges of paying bribes for protection against an investigation into the controversial arms deal.

On Monday, Zuma's legal team concluded its heads of argument, telling the court that Zuma's corruption charges must be dismissed because he is a subject of a political conspiracy who has been prejudiced by the unreasonable delays to the case being brought to trial.

Zuma faces charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering.

Thales's lawyer Advocate Anton Katz said that the NPA case against the arms company was about power.

He said the NPA must be judged on how it has wielded that power in charging the company with the former president.

Katz also faced tough questions from the full bench of judges when he argued that charges against the company shouldn't have been reinstated.

The judges said because the charges against the company were dropped together with Zuma's, it wouldn't make sense to reinstate the former president's charges without the company's.

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