The commission responsible for investigating widespread state corruption when Jacob Zuma was in power demanded, Monday, February 22, from the country’s highest court, two years in prison against the former southern president -african, for his refusal to testify.
Since the creation of the commission in 2018, Mr. Zuma, already implicated by forty testimonies, multiplies the maneuvers to avoid having to explain himself, piling up appeals or asserting his right to silence.
After months of playing cat and mouse, Judge Raymond Zondo’s commission carried out its threats by filing an urgent appeal with the Constitutional Court for the former head of state (2009-2018) to be punished for having “Intentionally and unlawfully” refused to advance the investigation. On February 15, the former South African president had once again snubbed the anti-corruption commission before which he was summoned all week.
But this time, he had at the same time ignored a decision rendered in January by the Constitutional Court, forcing him to appear and depriving him of the right to remain silent. The commission is now asking the Supreme Court to decide whether this latest affront from Mr. Zuma constitutes a “Contempt of justice” and, where appropriate, that he be sent behind bars.
In a thinly veiled attack last week, the former head of state accused some judges of being ” without faith or law “. He said he was certain that Judge Zondo’s wish to have him convicted of contempt of justice would be granted, accusing the chairman of the commission of “Political propaganda”.
The standoff between the two men has been going on for months, with both using the legal arsenal to launch their attacks.
The current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who has made the fight against corruption a workhorse, warned on Monday against the possible consequences of the remarks made by his predecessor.
Jacob Zuma, 78, testified only once before the commission, in July 2019. He quickly slammed the door, taking offense to being treated as a ” accused “.
Dozens of ministers or ex-ministers, elected officials, businessmen or senior officials have already been heard, unpacking the dirty laundry of the Zuma era. Stuck in scandals, Jacob Zuma was forced to resign in 2018.
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