NPA delays in Zuma corruption matter due to 'voluminous nature of papers'

2019-03-02 11:07
Oudpres. Jacob Zuma in die Pietermaritzburg-hooggeregshof. Foto: Leon Lestrade/pool

Oudpres. Jacob Zuma in die Pietermaritzburg-hooggeregshof. Foto: Leon Lestrade/pool

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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has admitted to not filing papers explaining why former president Jacob Zuma must go on trial for his corruption and racketeering case.

NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said in a statement on Saturday that the State attorney representing the NPA wrote to the attorneys for Zuma and French arms company Thales on February 21, requesting their consent to an extension of the date for filing to Monday, March 11. 

She said this was due to the "voluminous nature of the papers filed by Zuma's legal team". 

"This request was made on the basis that it would be agreeable that the dates for the filing of their client's replying papers and heads of argument be extended to April 12 and 30 respectively".

She said the dates for the filing of the State's heads on May 10 and the hearing from May 20 to 23 would remain unchanged.

READ: Zuma will be back in court in May 2019

The NPA would be delivering its affidavits by March 11, she confirmed. 

"The State attorneys will also deliver a formal application for condonation of the late delivery of the answering papers and for the extension of the dates for the filing of Zuma and Thales replying papers and [heads] of argument set out in the State attorney's letter of February 21."

During Zuma’s last appearance in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on November 30, 2018, deputy Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo ordered that the permanent stay of prosecution arguments, together with criminal proceedings be heard on May 20.  

The State was ordered to deliver its answering papers by March 1, 2019. 

READ MORE: 5 new developments in the Zuma corruption case and what they mean

BusinessDay reported that the NPA delay comes after prosecutors had filed an application to obtain 17 documents from Zuma, which he referred to in his permanent stay application, on February 20.

Zuma's legal team was said to be fuming at the delay, calling it a move to buy time as it said the State already had all those documents, according to TimesLive.

Zuma has filed a 300-page affidavit asking for a permanent stay of prosecution.

He claimed he was a victim of an orchestrated attempt by the NPA to align him to corruption.

Thales, the arms company implicated with Zuma, also filed its application in the High Court to have the prosecution permanently set aside. It claimed it had been denied a fair trial because of unreasonable delays and its right to present and challenge evidence.

The embattled former president faces serious charges including one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering, and 12 counts of fraud relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial arms deal.

Read more on:    npa  |  jacob zuma  |  corruption  |  courts
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