Jacob Zuma wants acquittal in arms deal case, citing State’s lack of legitimacy

In papers filed to the Pietermaritzburg High Court, the former president insisted lead State prosecutor Billy Downer lacked impartiality and independence prescribed by the country’s Constitution.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg High Court where he appeared on corruption charges on 15 October 2019. Picture: AFP.

DURBAN - Former President Jacob Zama is demanding the Pietermaritzburg High Court acquit him on the basis that the State has lost the “constitutional legitimacy” to present evidence against him.

This argument was contained in Zuma’s response to arguments by Advocate Billy Downer over his special plea application.

He lodged the application to demand the removal of the lead state prosecutor in the case against him.

In court papers, Zuma insisted Downer lacked impartiality and independence prescribed by the country’s Constitution.

Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales face corruption, fraud, money laundering, and racketeering charges linked to the multi-billion rand arms deal of the late 1990s.

In his special plea application, Zuma accused Downer of being biased.

He cited as evidence of that bias the fact that Downer had previously filed an affidavit in a court action the DA successfully pursued again Zuma.

In papers filed to the Pietermaritzburg High court last week, Downer dismissed Zuma’s claims – highlighting that the former president’s arguments had been previously dismissed by the courts.

Zuma has previously told his supporters that he would not abide by any court sanction that he deemed unfair.

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