South Africa Prosecutors Set to Announce Steps on Zuma Charges

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority will announce on Friday whether it will pursue graft charges against former President Jacob Zuma that were shelved nine years ago amid allegations of political interference.

Fighting charges would add to Zuma’s woes after he was forced to step down as president two months ago to be replaced by new ruling party leader, Cyril Ramaphosa. That, and a commission of inquiry into alleged undue influence by Zuma’s friends the Guptas over his administration, may help give momentum to the new president’s campaign against corruption.

Chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams will announce the decision at 3:30 p.m. in Pretoria, NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said by phone.

The NPA spent eight years investigating allegations that Zuma, 75, took 4.07 million rand ($341,000) in bribes from arms dealers and charged him with corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering. It abandoned the case in 2009, months before he became president, saying taped phone calls indicated that chief investigator Leonard McCarthy may have used the allegations to frustrate Zuma’s efforts to win control of the African National Congress from then-President Thabo Mbeki.

In October, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling that found the decision to drop the charges was “irrational” and that the political considerations that had tainted the investigation were irrelevant to the integrity of the case. While the order paved the way for a trial to proceed, prosecutors allowed Zuma to make representations as to why he shouldn’t be indicted.

Zuma, who was also implicated in a succession of other scandals, resigned on Feb. 14 under pressure from the ANC following its election of a new leadership in December. He has denied wrongdoing.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.