Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2003-09-16 Reporter: Zelda Venter, Sapa

Zuma's Bid for Court Order Struck From Roll As it is 'Not Urgent'



Cape Times

Date 2003-09-16


Zelda Venter, Sapa

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Pretoria - A "corrupt" offer, designed to achieve political success for Ngcuka, was made to Deputy President Jacob Zuma by the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, the high court here has heard.

This was alleged yesterday when the court struck Zuma's application off the roll because it was not urgent.

Zuma wants an order instructing the National Prosecuting Authority, Ngcuka and Scorpions to give him the handwritten original of a memo composed by the southern African head of a French arms company and allegedly implicating him in a bribe.

"No doubt the matter has attracted great public interest, but it does not necessarily make it urgent," said Justice Jerry Shongwe. He instructed Zuma to pay costs.

Appearing for Zuma, Neil Tuckten said Ngcuka had asked an advocate to convey to Zuma that the investigations against him "could be made to go away against all concerned", subject to "certain requirements".

These were that Zuma answer a set of questions that would remain confidential and that his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, plead guilty to certain "minor" charges.

The offer was "corrupt", Tuckten said, and Zuma had rejected it.

Leonard McCarthy, head of investigations for the Directorate of Special Operations, described the allegations as "scandalous and vexatious". He accused Zuma of making scurrilous allegations about the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions and said he was "abusing the process of court".

Zuma's claim that the investigators of his affairs had acted unlawfully was "scandalous".

"We were motivated by the desire to protect the applicant and his office as far as possible."

Zuma said he needed the original to clear his name. "The encrypted fax was at the heart of the investigation against me."

Zuma said in papers he was not present at the meeting to which the memo referred and at which a request was made for R500 000 a year to be paid to "JZ" for "protection" during investigations into the arms deal.

"If I can demonstrate the fallacy of the respondents' contentions regarding the encrypted fax, I will go a long way towards demonstrating my innocence," Zuma said.

Ngcuka said there was a reasonable prospect that disclosure of the handwritten version of the encrypted fax would lead to a miscarriage of justice in the prosecution of Shaik.

With acknowledgements to Zelda Venter, Sapa and the Cape Times.