Zuma accuses State prosecutor Downer of conspiring against him with CIA

In an energetic speech after appearing in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday, Jacob Zuma told his supporters that he was innocent and that he hoped that Downer would be removed from the case after accusing him of leaking information to the media as well.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters following the postponement of his corruption trial outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 26 May 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

PIETERMARITZBURG - Former President Jacob Zuma has issued strong words against State prosecutor, Advocate Billy Downer, accusing him of conspiring with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States in the case against him.

The former head of state addressed his supporters after appearing in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

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In an energetic speech, Zuma told his supporters that he was innocent and that he hoped that Downer would be removed from the case after accusing him of leaking information to the media as well.

Former president Jacob Zuma is alleged to have received bribes amounting to over R4 million from Thales, a French company that secured a lucrative contract in the infamous arms deal of the late 1990s.

Zuma told his supporters that he was innocent and wanted to be acquitted on allegations that the State was being used by external and internal forces who were opposed to him.

"There is no cases here. Firstly, we are told that it has to do with the procurement of arms but I was not there during the purchasing of arms. I'm still awaiting clear explanations from them," Zuma said.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, referred to Zuma as a conspiracy theorist who was hell-bent on using delay tactics to avoid prosecution.

Thales also pleaded not guilty.

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