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South African Court Says Documents Against Ex-Deputy President can be Obtained

The corruption case against former South African deputy President Jacob Zuma took another turn when a Durban High Court Tuesday granted state prosecutors permission to obtain documents from Mauritius which could potentially implicate Mr. Zuma. The court’s ruling empowers the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to obtain original documents, including a diary in which a former head of a French firm allegedly made a note of a meeting he had with Zuma and his former economic advisor about an alleged bribe for Zuma. But Zuma’s lawyers argued that the prosecutors acted improperly in obtaining copies of the documents and therefore should be prevented from getting the originals.

Michael Hulley is the lead attorney for Jacob Zuma. From Durban, South Africa, he talked to VOA about the latest development about the corruption case against Jacob Zuma.

“Obviously, our view is that a proper basis has to be laid by the NPA as to why they would be entitled to any documents that relate to Mr. Zuma,” Hulley noted.

He said the NPA acted improperly in obtaining documents from Mauritius against the former South African deputy president.

“I think the case that we’ve made has been a consistent one. You would recall that the route that the NPA chose was to approach the Mauritian authorities, and it was as a result of that approach that they obtained copies of certain documents, which was used in subsequent prosecution of Schabir Shaik (former economic advisor to Jacob Zuma). Our view has always been because of the injunction, which has been granted by the Mauritian High Court, that the proper authority with the requisite jurisdiction is the Mauritian High Court, who should deal with that matter,” he said.

Hulley said Zuma has always maintained the corruption charges against him are politically motivated.

“You would recall that the period of almost six to seven years has now passed and still we have the NPA saying that they want to conduct further investigations. Our view is that those investigations are not to establish the truth or otherwise any allegations that are being made, but rather they are goal-orientated in so far as they are directed at a prosecution. And we think that those are not the duties NPA is charged with,” Hulley pointed out.

He said the former deputy president was booted out of government on allegations that have yet to be substantiated.

“I would say in so far as Mr. Zuma is concerned that he’s been dismissed from his post as the deputy president of this country on the premise or the basis that he’s been charged with serious allegations against him. An untested allegation, an allegation, which has not seen the light of day as far as the criminal prosecution is concerned,” he said.