Publication: Sunday Independent Issued: Date: 2007-09-21 Reporter:

Zuma's 'Roller-Coaster' Ride Continues



Sunday Independent



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

Zuma is not expected to appear at his seventh court battle *1 with the National Prosecuting Authority in 2007, though he has come under fire for having suggested 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 have described 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.

It has been a roller-coaster week for Zuma, who was the subject of a Congress of SA Trade Unions resolution supporting him as ANC president on Thursday, 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 ruled against an application brought by him to intervene in the state's request to obtain information from banks and lawyers in the United Kingdom. That information is believed to relate to if and how an alleged bribe was paid to Zuma by French arms company Thint.

The ruling will put Zuma's legal team very much on the back foot on Friday morning, as it tries to stop the National Prosecuting Authority from getting its hands on 14 Mauritian documents needed for his and French arms company Thint's possible corruption prosecution.

The state claims its efforts to secure the Mauritian documents are part of the marshalling of evidence it needs before it can decide whether to recharge Zuma and Thint for corruption.

The disputed documents include a diary entry that allegedly notes a meeting at which convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik brokered a R500 000 bribe to Zuma from Thint in exchange for protection from a potentially damaging arms deal inquiry.

It is understood that the Appeal Court's response to Zuma's and Thint's efforts to stop the letter of request from being issued to the Mauritian authorities could influence the decision should he decide to appeal against the UK request ruling.

This article was originally published on page 5 of The Mercury on September 21, 2007

With acknowledgements to Sunday Independent.

*1       The 7th court battle - all at the South African taxpayer's expense.

And this is just the warm-up phase.