NPA boss's decision to drop charges against Zuma 'impulsive', court hears

2016-03-01 17:02

Pretoria - Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe acted prematurely when he decided to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, the Pretoria High Court heard on Tuesday.

"The decision wasn’t rational. It was impulsive," said Sean Rosenberg, for the Democratic Alliance.

"Mpshe felt betrayed and the decision was premature and impulsive."

The DA wants the court to set aside and declare as irrational the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision in 2009 to drop the corruption charges against Zuma. 

The matter was being heard before Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, who was flanked by Judges Billy Mothle and Cynthia Pretorius.

Rosenberg said Mpshe listened to the so-called spy tapes on March 31, 2009, and made the decision on April 1. There was no indication that Mpshe consulted his deputies. He announced his decision at a press briefing on April 6.

"The sense of betrayal and outrage felt by Mr Mpshe led him to the conclusion that this was an abuse of process," he said.  

The "spy tapes" are recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka, and apparently show political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.

They were part of written and oral representations handed to the NPA as part of Zuma's case that the more than 700 charges against him should be dropped.

Mpshe said he was convinced there was evidence of an abuse of process against Zuma during the prosecution.

On April 7, 2009, the charges against Zuma were withdrawn in the High Court in Durban. Following general elections, Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president that May.

Ledwaba asked Rosenberg if there were indications that Zuma would have been prejudiced if the case had gone to court.

"There is no indication that Zuma would not have had a fair trial or would have been prejudiced if the prosecution had proceeded," said Rosenberg.

The matter continues.

Read more on:    zuma spy tapes

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