Zuma tapes still a mystery

2011-09-23 10:51

It remains a mystery how President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer got recordings that led to corruption charges against him and an arms company being withdrawn, Beeld reported today.

According to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence report for the year 2009/10, the committee was supposed to have received a submission on an investigation into this, but nothing happened.

The contents of the investigation would probably never be made known.

The committee could only give out information after consultation with the head of state, Zuma, who had to decide if it was a threat to national security.

In 2009, shortly before national elections, the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew charges against Zuma and French arms company Thint.

Recordings of intercepted phone calls were leaked to Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley and purportedly contained evidence of political interference in the investigation against Zuma.

When Hulley was asked about the origin of the recordings, he invoked client/lawyer confidentiality.

According to the committee’s report, tabled in Parliament yesterday, more than 400 cellphone and landline calls were intercepted by the intelligence services and for police investigations for the period 2009/10.

Most of the applications to do so were in connection with investigating serious crimes.

These included drug dealing and trafficking, vehicle theft and hijacks, armed robberies, corruption, fraud, assassinations, murder and terrorism.

Interception, considered a last resort, was done in terms of the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and Section two of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act.

Only stipulated state agents may apply for permission from a judge do so. It is not a requirement to notify the affected person or customer.

Beeld reported that between 2006 and February last year three million calls were intercepted.

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