NPA not trying to delay 'spy tapes' matter - Abrahams

2016-05-23 12:48
National director of public prosecutions, Advocate Shaun Abrahams. (Kopano Tlape, GCIS)

National director of public prosecutions, Advocate Shaun Abrahams. (Kopano Tlape, GCIS)

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Pretoria - The decision to appeal a court ruling that corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma be reinstated is not a delaying tactic, the National Prosecuting Authority said on Monday.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams said they had considered applying for direct access to the Constitutional Court, but ultimately decided, because of the significance of the case, that it was better to first apply for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

"I categorically deny that there is any attempt from the NPA to try delay this matter," he told reporters in Pretoria.

Abrahams said he had consulted on the matter and obtained legal advice from senior and junior counsel on whether to appeal.

On April 29, the full bench of the High Court in Pretoria found President Jacob Zuma should face the 783 charges of corruption.

After a seven-year battle by the Democratic Alliance, the court ruled that the decision to discontinue the prosecution against Zuma should be reviewed and set aside.

Application to be lodged on Monday

On April 6 2009, then-NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe said transcripts of telephone conversations between then-Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka showed political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.

The charges were withdrawn in the High Court in Durban on April 7, 2009.

Last month, the court found that Zuma should indeed face corruption charges after Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba said Mpshe had come under pressure and had, therefore, decided to discontinue the prosecution against Zuma.

Abrahams said the application for leave to appeal was being lodged on Monday.

The NPA had six grounds on which it was appealing the high court's decision.

Vital constitutional questions

This included that there was a transgression of the separation of powers and that NPA processes were abused for political reasons.

The prosecuting authority argued that there was "considerable public interest" at stake in this matter.

"The issues in this application… are of great constitutional import. It concerns the powers of the National Director of Public Prosecutions. This is a case which impinges upon vital constitutional questions of peculiar public interest," it said in its application to the SCA for leave to appeal.

Before announcing the NPA's decision, Abrahams spoke at great length about his independence.

Read more on:    npa  |  jacob zuma  |  shaun abrahams  |  pretoria  |  spy tapes

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