Zuma’s legal team argues for ‘unbiased prosecution’

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Advocate Dali Mpofu who is representing former President Jacob Zuma in the arms deal fraud and corruption trial has argued in the Pietermaritzburg High Court that the right to a fair trial includes the right to unbiased prosecution.

Mpofu made his submission before Judge Nkosinathi Chili in another application for the recusal of lead prosecutor, Advocate Billy Downer.

Zuma’s special plea including the removal of Downer based on alleged impartiality was dismissed by Judge Piet Koen in 2020.

Judge Koen, however, recused himself from the trial early this year, and the case had to start afresh.

Mpofu says his client is accusing Downer of leaking his medical records to journalist Karyn Maughan.

“We are not saying Downer admits to any guilt of anything, but we are saying from an ethical professional point of view or the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should paint him with a brush can you really and don’t even want to go to what it means, my Lord.”

“But simply what is called not ethical standard but the highest ethical standard that is expected from the NPA. If the NPA and Downer for that matter had done the right thing, and the right thing for both of them was to say, look there are these complaints and we think that they are wrong. The NPA would have said we are putting another prosecutor and Downer would have said I can’t, I am moving out,” adds Mpofu.

Meanwhile, the Jacob Zuma Foundation has dismissed claims that the former President is using delaying tactics to stall the arms deal fraud and corruption trial.

The foundation’s spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi says, “The only thing that has been delaying this case since 2005 is the NPA. Now we are not told that 20 years later when part of that 20 years waste is in the hands of NPA.”

“It will have a chilling effect that if someone appeals … the main reason we have these kinds [of] senior courts is because the junior courts make mistakes all the time and in this case, Koen made his mistakes and we are still dealing with his mistakes,” says Manyi.

Court proceedings live stream