CAPE TOWN– Former president Jacob Zuma’s legal bill on charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering related to a multi-billion-Rand arms deal is reported to have cost the South African government 24 million Rand (about 2.0 million US dollars).
This emerged from a question posed in Parliament here Tuesday by Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald to Minister of Justice Michael Masutha.
An earlier question by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the main opposition party, to the Presidency revealed that 15 million Rand of taxpayer’s money had been spent defending Zuma in another case, the long-standing spy tapes legal debacle.
The arms deal case links Zuma to corruption and the former president is due to appear in court in Durban on June 8 regarding these allegations when the case is heard again.
Justice Minister Masutha’s response, given in Parliament earlier this month, shows that 2.5 million Rand were spent interdicting former Public Protector (Ombudsman) Thuli Madonsela from releasing the now famous State Capture report in 2016.
This amount also includes Zuma’s 2006 defence against rape accusation. Zuma’s five-lawyer defence team utilised another 3.0 million Rand to argue in the Constitutional Court why the former president was not liable to pay back any money towards renovations on security upgrades to his personal homestead, Nkandla, as recommended by Madonsela.
Another 1.24 million Rand were spent in defending Zuma against the Democratic Alliance’s review application for substantiation of Zuma’s last Cabinet reshuffle where Pravin Gordhan was removed as Minister of Finance.
This figure is likely to escalate as the matter is due to be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal next month. Another outstanding matter is the Mxolisi NXasana golden handshake and the validity of Shaun Abrahams’ appointment as head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The Constitutional Court is yet to deliver judgment on the issue
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office has said that there was an agreement between the Thabo Mbeki presidency and Zuma in 2006 that his legal fees will be covered by the State. The decision was subject to the undertaking by Zuma to refund the legal costs incurred in the event that his defence was unsuccessful.
Zuma’s only outright legal success was in his 2006 rape trail where he was acquitted, making him possibly liable to pay back 20 millions Rand of taxpayer’s money for the other cases.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK