South Africa's ex-president Zuma pleads not guilty to corruption charges
By Betty Njeru and Reuters | May 26th 2021
Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma has pleaded not guilty to corruption charges, during the start of his trial in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Zuma appeared in court on Wednesday to face 16 charges among them, corruption, money laundering and racketeering, linked to a $2 billion arms deal when he was deputy president, back in the 1990s. He pleaded not guilty to all counts.
SABC News reported heavy police presence outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court, as the former president readied for trial.
Zuma, who also faces a separate inquiry into corruption during his time as president, is accused of accepting 500,000 rand ($34,000) annually from French arms company Thales, in exchange for protecting the company from an investigation into the deal.
"I plead not guilty," he said, staring into space after the prosecutor read out all the charges.
Zuma's defence team led by lawyer Dali Mpofu called for the recusal of state prosecutor Billy Downer, on the grounds that he has "no title to prosecute". The prosecution requested more time to make a response to that call, so it will not be dealt with on Wednesday but rather on July 19, said the presiding judge.
Zuma's son, Duduzane Zuma, told International media that his father had always been ready for the trial.
“He's been innocent from day one. He's been ready for the case from day one. People should not be saying he's been delaying his day in court. He was merely exercising his constitutional rights which he fought for,” Duduzane is quoted saying.
The ex-president has previously described the trial as political.
Olympics: 5,000m runner Kimeli sails through to final, believes 2021 could be his year to deliver
- Syombua exit in 400m heats as Botswana’s Montsho calls it a day on the track
- Olympics: Syombua fails to qualify for semi-finals of women’s 400m, finishes 5th
- Our faith looks up to thee 1,500m Olympic gold medallist Faith Chepngetich
Missing student found dead at university grounds
- Raila agrees to share political party billions with Wiper, other parties
- Unknown people were tracking Wycliffe Omwenga
- Fanfare as Raila meets musicians
By Betty Njeru
- Letter from Ithanga: Murang’a’s unexploited agricultural Canaan
By XN Iraki
- The four options for Kalonzo in 2022 succession