Pretoria court declines to drop graft charges against Zuma

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Pretoria, April 29 (IANS) A South African court here on Friday set aside a 2009 decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

The decision by NPA’s former head Mokotedi Mpshe was “irrational” as he acted “alone and impulsively”, Xinhua news agency cited the court as ruling.

Mpshe should have followed the legal processes on emergence of the “spy tapes” and allow the courts to decide if the charges should have been withdrawn, Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said.

The NPA and its current head Shaun Abrahams must now decide if it will recharge Zuma with the original 783 counts of corruption, the court ruled.

The application to set aside the decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma was submitted by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

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“This court finds there is no substance in submissions of respondents. We find that Mpshe found himself under pressure, and consequently made an irrational decision,” the court said.

“Mpshe ignored the importance of his oath of office” and what he did “is a breach of law in not treating respondents equally before the law,” the court concluded.

The spy tapes allegedly contain records showing why a decision was made for charges on over 700 counts of corruption against Zuma to be withdrawn, clearing the way for him to become president after the 2009 elections.

Zuma was facing corruption charges relating to the procurement of arms. There were allegations of bribery, corruption and fraud in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.

His legal team had contested the charges through confidential representations submitted to the NPA in February 2009.

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