Zuma appeals to Concourt

2008-03-11 00:00

ANC president Jacob Zuma goes to the Constitutional Court today over issues that could have an important bearing on his upcoming corruption trial due to start in Pietermaritzburg on August 4.

Zuma will once again attack the legality of search and seizure operations carried out in 2005, as well as a decision by the Durban High Court to issue a letter of request to Mauritian authorities for documents that the state seeks to use as evidence in Zuma’s upcoming corruption trial.

Four related applications are to be argued over two days by Zuma, his attorney, Michael Hulley, French-based arms company, Thint (Pty) Ltd, and Thint Holdings Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, the Constitutional Court said yesterday.

Two of these concern the lawfulness of a number of search and seizure operations mainly carried out on August 18, 2005 at the offices of Hulley and Thint, and the residences and former offices of Zuma.

During these searches thousands of documents were seized on which the prosecution relies.

About 250 members of the Scorpions were reportedly involved in the search and seizure operations and about 93 000 documents were seized, many of them in an electronic format.

Hulley and Zuma initially succeeded in challenging the lawfulness of the search warrants in Durban, while Thint’s challenge in the Pretoria High Court failed. Later the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled all the searches were legal and that the state could keep the items seized.

Zuma, Hulley and Thint are appealing that decision, and want the Constitutional Court to order the return of their documents.

The other two applications before the Constitutional Court challenge the decision of the high court to issue a letter — in terms of the International Co-operation in Criminal Matters Act of 1996 — requesting the attorney-general of Mauritius to transmit to South Africa 14 documents in the possession of the Mauritian authorities.

The documents were originally seized in Mauritius during 2001 from Thint and its director Alain Thetard in terms of a warrant issued by a Mauritius court.

The documents allegedly include Thetard’s 2000 diary said to contain evidence of a R500 000 bribe for Zuma.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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