NPA refuses to say if Zuma filed corruption charges response


File: National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams at a press conference on 7 July 2015 in Pretoria.

PRETORIA - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will not confirm whether President Jacob Zuma filed his representations on why the corruption case against him should be dropped. The deadline was Thursday. 

It said it will only comment when National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams has decided whether the case will proceed or not.

The prosecuting authority also cannot give a timeline for when that crucial decision will be made.

It is eight years since Zuma’s lawyers convinced the NPA to drop hundreds of fraud and corruption charges against him. The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Zuma and the NPA’s bid to appeal a 2016 High Court ruling that a 2009 decision to drop the charges against him was irrational.

The NPA said it has assembled a team of senior officials – led by controversial KZN prosecuting head Moipone Noko – to advise Abrahams on whether Zuma should be charged.

Noko was the person who withdrew charges of intimidation and harassment laid by a domestic worker, against Zuma’s fifth wife, Tobeka Madiba, in 2013.

It was also her decision to withdraw a corruption case against businessman Thoshan Panday, a Zuma family business associate. That decision was later overturned in court.

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NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku defended the choice of team leader. 
“As the most senior prosecutor in that jurisdiction, she was the best choice… in the matter that you referred to, she decided not to prosecute. The National Director considered the matter and decided there were grounds to prosecute, hence he reviewed her decision.”

Zuma’s former financial advisor Schabir Shaik was convicted of corrupting him – and that ruling withstood appeal and the NPA never denied it had a strong case against Zuma.

“We have always maintained that position, But you must recall that there are a couple of fresh pair of eyes who have to consider the matter. No one will dictate to them," said Mfaku.

"They have to satisfy themselves in terms of going through the documentary evidence and say there’s a case to answer. There are witnesses available to testify. The issues of credibility and all those issues will have to be considered. So it’s not an issue of starting from fresh. It’s a question of going through what we have in terms of ascertaining if we can actually take the matter forward.”

He insisted perceptions that Abrahams is a puppet who will do everything he can to protect the president are deeply unfair.

“Every matter is considered on its own merits. This matter is no different. If there are grounds for prosecution it will be prosecuted.”

Mfaku stressed that former lead Zuma prosecutor Billy Downer is also on the team to advise Abrahams. Downer strongly opposed the decision to drop the Zuma prosecution.