SAfrica: Zuma corruption charges face setback

SAfrica: Zuma corruption charges face setback

Along with 783 charges from 7 years ago, scandal tainted 74-year-old president faces growing pressure to step down

PRETORIA, South Africa (AA) - In a setback for critics of South Africa’s president who say he should face his day in court, South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced Monday it will appeal a ruling urging it to reconsider reinstating hundreds of corruption charges against the president.

Former NPA boss Mokotedi Mphse withdrew 783 corruption charges against Jacob Zuma seven years ago, just weeks before he was elected president.

Last month, a high court in capital Pretoria ruled that Mphse’s decision was “irrational” in the absence of a court process, but Monday’s announcement effectively reversed that, dimming hopes of Zuma’s prosecution.

“I have decided to apply for leave to appeal the full bench decisions of the Pretoria high court,” NPA boss Shaun Abrahams told reporters in Pretoria on Monday.

He said his decision to appeal the matter was not influenced by any politician and that he was doing his job without fear or favor.

“I don’t need a politician or anyone’s influence to make a prosecution. No one can influence me,” he said shortly after announcing that he had instructed the attorney general to file the appeal papers.

Seven years ago, Mphse said he was withdrawing corruption charges against Zuma after telephone recordings between senior officials of ex-President Thabo Mbeki emerged showing they had manipulated Zuma’s case for political reasons.

The charges against Zuma include corruption, racketeering, and fraud linked to a 1999 multi-billion government arms deal.

Since coming to power in 2009, Zuma has faced many scandals and is coming under growing pressure to step down.

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