Publication: Sunday Times Issued: Date: 2003-09-07 Reporter: Ranjeni Munusamy

Zuma Says Ngcuka Abused Power



Sunday Times

Date 2003-09-07


Ranjeni Munusamy

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Deputy President Jacob Zuma says he intends reporting National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka to the Public Protector for a "gross abuse of public power".

In a 31-page affidavit filed in the Pretoria High Court this week, Zuma says Ngcuka has "stripped" him of the "remedy available to any person confronted with such allegations: a trial in the normal course".

"I cannot think of any reason consistent with good faith why it is necessary for the first respondent after having come to the conclusion that he could not win a court case against me, in effect to tell the nation that I am nevertheless guilty," Zuma said.

He was responding to comments Ngcuka made two weeks ago when he announced that Zuma would not be charged for corruption relating to the arms deal but that investigators did have a prima facie case against him.

Zuma is also claiming punitive costs from Ngcuka, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Scorpions for their conduct in the investigation. He says they have "denied me access to a crucial document which might well contribute to my being able to demonstrate my innocence".

This is a copy of a handwritten encrypted fax in French, written by Thomson director Alain Thétard, on which the allegations against Zuma that he attempted to solicit a bribe, are based.

"I believe that it is vital to my interests that I cause the handwritten version of the encrypted fax to be thoroughly investigated. Its handwritten form, the genesis of the encrypted fax, is manifestly of great significance. "It may, for example, transpire that contrary to what has been alleged under oath on behalf of the respondents, the handwriting is not that of the said Alain Thétard," Zuma said.

He also alleges in the affidavit that Ngcuka lied when he claimed that he and Justice Minister Penuell Maduna personally informed him of the nature and purpose of the investigation.

"I was not told by either of them that an investigation was under way against me," Zuma said.

He claims that Scorpions investigators "unlawfully" gained access to his banking records without a search warrant. They also "instructed my bankers to keep secret from me the unlawful access to my personal information and records", Zuma says.

A copy of a letter Zuma's lawyers sent to Maduna, and copied to Ngcuka, on August 21 this year is attached to the affidavit.

In the letter, Zuma's lawyer Russell MacDonald says the Deputy President objected to:

the delay in concluding the investigation the unlawful access to his banking records leaks to the media of information the NPA is obliged to keep secret a public statement by Ngcuka that the investigation has been hampered by "criminal comrades"; and an attempt by Ngcuka to solicit the intervention of a person (Cyril Ramaphosa) to mediate between the NPA and Zuma.

"The mediation exercise is the latest but perhaps the most gross irregularity perpetrated by the National Director," the letter reads.

"The investigation is about whether or not our client solicited a bribe. Either there is a case or there is not. What could there possibly be to mediate?" MacDonald asks.

The letter also informs Maduna that Zuma has asked the police to investigate leaks to the media of confidential information. Zuma says Maduna neither acknowledged nor replied to the letter.

Maduna refused to comment on the affidavit. "I am not going to talk to you about that. The matter is before court. I will be in contempt if I do so."

Zuma asked the court deal with his application urgently as "I am being tried in the court of public opinion".

"My calling demands that I defend myself. Every day that passes without my being able to defend myself in the way that I see fit, contributes to my prejudice," Zuma said.

The NPA will file a responding affidavit tomorrow which its spokesman Sipho Ngwema says "will correct hearsay, rumours and wrong things" in Zuma's statement.

With acknowledgements to Ranjeni Munusamy and the Sunday Times.