NPA to oppose Zuma lawyers' call for State prosecutor Downer to recuse himself

Zuma and his co-accused, Thales, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday but the matter was postponed to next week after his lawyers told the court that they wanted Billy Downer to recuse him himself from the matter under section 106 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

FILE: Jacob Zuma’s legal team and senior State prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer exchange a few words in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 23 February 2021. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News

DURBAN - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that it planned to oppose a call by Jacob Zuma’s lawyers for State prosecutor Billy Downer to recuse himself in the high-profile case involving the former president.

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

In an address to his supporters this week, Zuma claimed that the State failed to adhere to the law during investigations against him and said that it would be incorrect, therefore, for the same officials to try him.

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However, the NPA has rejected this.

Zuma and his co-accused, Thales, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.

The matter was postponed to Wednesday next week after his lawyers told the court that they wanted Downer to recuse him himself from the matter under section 106 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Zuma’s lawyers argued that he did not have a title to prosecute the former statesman but the NPA’s Sipho Ngwema said that Downer had dealt with the matter since 2005 and he was well qualified to try Zuma.

"This is about the regurgitation of old issues that have been rejected by the courts so the NPA will go back to court on the 26th of May with full and clear argument and rejection of what has been put forward by the defence."

The court is expected to issue its decision at Zuma’s next court appearance next week.

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