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Prosecution of South Africa's Jacob Zuma Looms Closer


Shabir Shaik, one-time financial advisor to former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, has lost his appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal against his conviction on charges of fraud and corruption. The decision increases the likelihood that the corruption case against Zuma will be reinstated.

The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed all Shabir Shaik's applications for appeal and also upheld the sentences of 15 years incarceration on the two main charges.

Judge Craig Howie delivered a summary of the decision at the court in Bloemfontein.

He said, "In the criminal case, all the applications for leave to appeal that were referred for argument, are dismissed. All the appeals are dismissed."

The court upheld the findings of the trial court regarding the corrupt nature of the relationship between Shaik and Zuma. Judge Howie said that on four occasions interventions by Zuma on Shaik's behalf advanced or were intended to advance Shaik's commercial interests.

He said the most important intervention by Zuma resulted in Shaik acquiring a highly lucrative contract to supply armaments for two new corvettes for the South African Navy.

Judge Howie said the only reasonable inference that could be made on the evidence is that some 238 payments were corruptly made to Zuma by Shaik to influence Zuma to act in conflict with his constitutional duties.

The court's decision increases the likelihood that the National Prosecuting Authority will reinstate the corruption case against Zuma. That case was ordered stayed by a Durban court in September when the state was unable to proceed within the time required by that court.

Spokesperson Makhosini Nkosi says the case may now move forward.

"The National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli will have to apply his mind to that and decide what ought to be done. You will remember that mater was struck off the roll ... the state was not ready to proceed - one of the reasons why the state was not ready to proceed was this very matter that was finalized today," he said.

Last week the National Prosecuting Authority was granted leave to appeal another court decision declaring the seizure of evidence from Zuma's homes last year, illegal.

Once that matter is finalized, it is likely that the NPA will make a final decision whether or not to proceed with the corruption case against Zuma.

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