• South Africa court says Zuma should face 2009 graft charges

    (FILES) This file photo taken on November 10, 2015 shows South African President Jacob Zuma attending a press conference following talks with the German Chancellor at the chancellery in Berlin. Beleaguered South African President Jacob Zuma faces on March 1, 2016 a no-confidence vote in parliament for a second time in less than a year and a legal bid to reinstate corruption charges against him. The mounting pressure on the president comes against a background of economic crisis sparked by his firing of two finance ministers within days in December 2015.  / AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL
    (FILES) This file photo taken on November 10, 2015 shows South African President Jacob Zuma attending a press conference following talks with the German Chancellor at the chancellery in Berlin.
    Beleaguered South African President Jacob Zuma faces on March 1, 2016 a no-confidence vote in parliament for a second time in less than a year and a legal bid to reinstate corruption charges against him. The mounting pressure on the president comes against a background of economic crisis sparked by his firing of two finance ministers within days in December 2015.
    / AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL
    A South African judge on Friday delivered a damning verdict against prosecutors’ decision to drop more than 700 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, piling further pressure on the embattled leader.
    “The decision… to discontinue the charges against Mr Zuma is irrational and should be reviewed,” Pretoria High Court judge Aubrey Ledwaba said.
    “Mr Zuma should face the charges as applied.”
    The charges, relating to a multi-billion dollar arms deal, were dropped by the chief state prosecutor in 2009 — clearing the way for Zuma to be elected president later that year.
    The prosecutor had justified dropping the charges by saying that recordings of tapped phone calls between senior officials in then-president Thabo Mbeki’s administration showed political interference in the case.
    The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has since fought a long legal battle, claiming that the prosecutor’s decision was wrong.
    Zuma last month lost another major legal case when the country’s highest court found he violated the constitution over the use of public funds to upgrade his private residence.
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