Zuma Corruption Latest: “I am no different to a tortured person”

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Former president Jacob Zuma has accused the NPA of spin doctoring and leaking information about his corruption investigation and prosecution to the media in his final affidavit in which he is calling for his acquittal and the removal of lead prosecutor Billy Downer.

Zuma is facing 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering relating to a 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military gear from five European arms firms for 30 billion rand, then the equivalent of nearly $5.0 billion. French arms company Thales is the co-accused in the matter.

In the affidavit which was filed in the Pietermarizburg High Court on Thursday Zuma has accused the NPA’s prosectors not only of leaking information to journalists but of “criminal” activity and of involving the US’s Central Intelligence Agency in the matter.

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Zuma said in his affidavit that Downer would have known that his tax records had been “unlawfully obtained from SARS to manufacture a criminal case against me”.

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“To close his eyes to patently illegal actions perpetrated against me is reminiscent of apartheid prosecutors who did not care about the rights of accused persons. It is similar to a situation where an accused person makes a confession to a crime through torture but because, as Mr Downer believes, there is evidence to successfully prosecute me, it does not matter that the accused person was tortured into confession,” he said.

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“I am in no different position to a tortured person, except that in my case, I did nothing wrong.”

He said of the trial continued he would be able to demonstrate that the “only motive” Downer had harboured in his prosecution was the prospect of convicting a high-ranking member of the ANC and former president.

“It would make very good news for my eternal foes that my political role is finally brought down by a prosecutor whose training began during the dark days of apartheid,” Zuma said.

Zuma said he was seeking to have Downer and the rest of the NPA team removed from the case and he was also applying to the court for his acquittal and a permanent stay of prosecution.

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“At the hearing of this application I will seek an order that an evidentiary hearing be conducted on the issues relating to whether evidence of political and intelligence meddling has undermined the states’s duty to conduct a fair and impartial hearing,” Zuma said.

“I am advised that it is the trial court that must first purge the infirmities of political and intelligence meddling in my prosecution.”

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