The Constitutional Court has reportedly dismissed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s application to appeal a High Court ruling, which in essence reinstated 18 charges of fraud and corruption, relating to 783 dodgy payments, against President Jacob Zuma. The DA also released a statement to this effect this morning, in which it stated that the ConCourt is not prepared to hear the case at this stage.
Other reports reveal that according to an order issued on 28 September by the ConCourt, it would not be in the interests of justice to hear the NPA’s request for leave to appeal the reinstatement of Zuma’s 783 corruption charges. “The Constitutional Court has considered this application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that it is not in the interests of justice for this Court to hear the matter at this stage,” the order noted.
In May we reported that the NPA planned to appeal a decision handed down by the North Gauteng High Court, which on 24 June dismissed an application for leave to appeal an April 2016 judgment – this one setting aside the 2009 decision to drop the charges against Zuma.
The NPA then said it would approach the Constitutional Court, while Zuma intended to go to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court is yet to announce its decision on Zuma’s application.
This is the latest in a string of controversies involving the NPA. On 16 September the General Council of the Bar succeeded in its application to the North Gauteng High Court to have deputy director of national prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba and the NPA’s head of the specialised crime intelligence unit Lawrence Mrwebi struck off the roll of advocates.
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In its official announcement – in appealing Ledwaba’s original April judgment that the authority’s setting aside of the case in 2009 was irrational – the NPA stated that its Constitutional Court case was based on several points, one of which was its contention that the court had erred in finding that former national prosecutions director Mokotedi Mpshe had acted irrationally by not referring the complaint of abuse of process and the allegations of a conspiracy against Zuma to court, and making the decision unilaterally.
The DA had brought the case against three respondents, namely Mpshe; Leonard McCarthy, head of the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions), which was disbanded in 2009; and Zuma, who was not president at the time the charges were withdrawn.
The NPA first brought corruption charges against Zuma in 2007, but these were dismissed in September 2008 in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. The judgment was appealed and overturned in January 2009.
The NPA was about to go ahead with its case against Zuma but on 31 March 2009 Mpshe listened for the first time to the so-called spy tapes, and was so disturbed by what he said he heard – evidence of a McCarthy plot against Zuma – that he withdrew the charges against Zuma. Mpshe’s action triggered the DA’s case, launched a week later.