Publication: Independent Online Issued: Date: 2008-08-05 Reporter: Karyn Maughan Reporter: Tania Broughton

Zuma Charges 'a Result of Shaik's Conviction'



Independent Online




Karyn Maughan, Tania Broughton

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The decision to charge Jacob Zuma followed the conviction of his former financial advisor Schabir Shaik for fraud and after consultation with senior Scorpions staff.

This is what counsel for the state Wim Trengove SC told Pietermaritzburg High Court judge Chris Nicholson this morning.

With the sound of the thumping music played outside by Zuma's supporters pulsating through the court room, Trengove specifically addressed Zuma's claims that suspended NPA head Vusi Pikoli had acted against him as a result of "undue political interference".

Trengove referred to an affidavit given by Pikoli, in which he explained his decision to charge Zuma. Pikoli's deliberations left him with the conclusion that the state had a reasonable prospect of success in convicting Zuma, he said.

Trengove also said the state believed Pikoli's decision was "no longer open to review".

"The Pikoli decision was implemented but terminated when the case was struck from the roll by Judge Herbert Msimang so that decision is no longer open to review.

"The present decision (to charge Zuma by acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe) is therefore a fresh decision and is not a review of the Pikoli decision."

Intense behind-closed-doors negotiations were underway today about the progress of the trial. Judge Nicholson this morning indicated that he would give his decision on Zuma's application to have his prosecution declared invalid on September 12.

Judge Nicholson told the parties to factor this into their "squabble"over dates for Zuma's intended application for a permanent stay of prosecution and a proposed trial date.

On Monday, there was feverish discussions over the State's proposed April 1 trial date.

No agreement could be reached with lawyers acting for Zuma and his corruption co-accused French arms company Thint.

There were threats by the State that unless the issue could be resolved out of court, it would bring the impasse before the judge in open court. This morning the judge suggested both sides meet him again in chambers before the case resumes.

The state has finished arguing its response to Zuma's application and Zuma's counsel Kemp J Kemp SC, is currently having the last word on the matter.

Still to be debated is an application by an organisation calling itself The Society For the Protection of the Constitution which wants to be joined to the proceedings and is asking that the case against Zuma be dropped.

Read the full story in the print edition of The Star

With acknowledgements to Karyn Maughan, Tania Broughton and Independent Online.