Arms company claims NPA chief was ‘hellbent’ on charging Zuma

Staff Writer | May 23, 2019
Arms company Thales’ legal team has argued that former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams acted ‘irrationally’ in pursuing charges against it.

NPA boss Shaun Abrahams was ‘hellbent’ on charging Thales along with former president Jacob Zuma, and acted ‘irrationally’ when dealing with the case against the company, according to Advocate Anton Katz, who is acting for Thales.

The arms company is accused of paying Zuma an annual R500 000 bribe to use his political influence to protect it from being implicated in corruption claims associated with the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal, which came to light in 2003.

Katz was addressing the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday in the continuing hearing on Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution against him.

In the course of Katz’s argument, the judges complained of unnecessary repetition. ‘When you make the argument over and over, we lose it. Let’s just digest it. Sometimes a lawyer makes a good argument but ruins it by repeating (himself),’ said Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati. 

Advocate Mushahida Adhikar, also representing Thales, said the people who were responsible for paying the bribes were no longer with the company and one had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Judge Poyo-Dlwati asked why a medical report was not submitted to the court to enable it to make an informed judgment. 

Meanwhile, the number of Zuma supporters outside the court has dropped dramatically. A co-ordinator of the support group, Bishop Vusi Dube, denied allegations of financial problems. He said they had paid out of ‘their own pockets’ to be there and that the only reason they were not there on Tuesday was because transport arrangements had not been part of that day’s plan.

‘It was our arrangement not to bus people in today [Tuesday]. Our transport arrangement was always for Monday, Thursday and Friday.’ 

Presumably there should be a significant increase in numbers today.


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