Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2007-09-21 Reporter: Karyn Maughan

Zuma Facing Another Legal Hurdle Over Documents



The Star




Karyn Maughan

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Twenty-four hours after Jacob Zuma was backed as Cosatu's choice for ANC president, his legal team was today due to battle to stop the state from furthering its fraud and corruption investigation against him.

Zuma was not expected to appear at his seventh court battle with the National Prosecuting Authority this year, but he has already come under fire for suggesting that the state's efforts to gather evidence for his possible prosecution were aimed at casting him as an "accused person" in the months before the crucial ANC leadership battle.

Scorpions prosecutors have reacted with fury to what they describe as Zuma's "scandalous, gratuitous and unwarranted" accusations of dishonesty and political engineering against them, asking that he be punished for the allegations with a hefty legal bill.

"The National Director of Public Prosecutions accepts that, in an open and democratic society, a state institution such as the NPA may legitimately be criticised where the facts warrant this.

"However, this does not allow an important instrument of our democracy to be gratuitously and unnecessarily scandalised," prosecutors said in court documents.

It has been a rollercoaster week for Zuma, who was yesterday the subject of a Congress of SA Trade Unions resolution supporting him as ANC president, exactly seven days after his legal attempts to intervene in the state's probing of his financial affairs in the UK met with failure.

Pretoria High Court Judge Willem van der Merwe, who previously acquitted Zuma of rape, ruled against an application brought by him. That information is believed to relate to whether and how an alleged bribe was paid to Zuma by French arms company Thint.

Today's ruling will put Zuma's legal team on the back foot as they try to stop the NPA from getting its hands on 14 Mauritian documents needed for his and Thint's possible corruption prosecution.

With acknowledgements to Karyn Maughan and The Star.