A South African High Court judge has described as ‘irrational,’ the decision by the public prosecutor to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma in 2009.
Excerpts of the judge’s ruling read; ‘The record reflects that he [the prosecutor] still had the view that the prosecution must continue even after he was briefed on the content of the tapes. His sudden inexplicable turn around on this matter is clearly irrational.’
The charges are in respect of a multi-billion-dollar arms deal made in 1999 when Zuma was deputy president. Mr Zuma has always denied allegations of graft.
The charges were dropped in 2009 when South Africa’s chief prosecutor, Mokotedi Mpshe, said that phone-tap evidence suggested political interference in the investigation.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance applied to the court to have the decision of the prosecutor reviewed, its leader Mmusi Maimane called it “a great victory for the rule of law,” adding: “ultimately we believe that Jacob Zuma must face prosecution.”
Just last week the president Zuma made public the finding of a commission of inquiry set up to look at the allegations and announced that it found no evidence against any government officials of the time.
According to him, money had been paid for consultancy services “and nothing else.”
In a terse statement , the presidency has stated that it would as a party to the case, give consideration to the Court’s ruling.
‘‘As a party to the proceedings, the president has noted the decision of the court and will give consideration to the judgement and its consequences and the remedies available in terms of our law,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the ruling African national Congress has reiterated its support for Zuma in a statement shortly after the court’s decision.