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Monday, October 8, 2007

CrimProf Tom Coetzee Says Trial of Jacob Zuma is Inevitable

From legalbrief.com: The corruption trial of Jacob Zuma in South Africa became inevitable with the unanimous decision yesterday of 11 Constitutional Court judges to dismiss Schabir Shaik’s application to appeal against his conviction on charges of corruption and fraud and his 15-year jail sentence, says University of North West CrimProf Tom Coetzee.

According to a Beeld report, the judges ruled that Shaik’s application to appeal did not have a reasonable chance of succeeding, and that it would therefore not be in the interests of justice to hear it. It notes the judges referred in particular to Schaik’s corrupt relationship with Zuma and said it centered on the High Court’s finding that Shaik and his companies had from October 1995 to September 2002 ‘made certain payments in a corrupt way to Zuma, with the intention of influencing him to use his name and political influence to benefit Shaik and his undertakings’.

Coetzee said the decision means that from a legal point of view a prima facie case against Zuma ‘clearly exists’ and that it is a matter that Zuma ought to respond to in court, ‘regardless of the massive political impact’ that this would have. ‘Remember that the finding that Shaik paid money in a corrupt way to Zuma is now the finding of three courts: the High Court, Appeal Court and Constitutional Court. I’m not saying that Zuma is guilty. What I am saying is that it’s inevitable that he’ll now have to be charged to put his side of the case.’

However, Business Day quotes prosecutor Billy Downer as saying the outcome of other cases was being awaited before a final decision was made about Zuma. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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