State: Zuma warrants were specific

Warrants issued to allow the Scorpions to conduct search-and-seizure raids on the properties of African National Congress president Jacob Zuma, his attorney and French arms manufacturer Thint were specific, the Constitutional Court heard on Wednesday.

Addressing the court, advocate Wim Trengove said the June 2005 warrants issued by Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe satisfied the requirement of “objective delineation” and “went a lot further”.

Citing from the warrant used by the Scorpions to search Zuma’s flat in Killarney, Johannesburg, Trengove said that the documents “that have a bearing on the investigation” were detailed in an annexure attached to the warrant and that “the offences are listed in the warrant”.

On Tuesday, Zuma’s advocate Kemp J Kemp and Thint advocate Peter Hodes argued that the warrants were too vague.

The court is hearing four related applications by Zuma, his attorney Michael Hulley, Thint and Thint Holdings Southern Africa for leave to appeal against three judgements of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on November 8 2007.

They object to the searches carried out on their premises as part of the investigation against Zuma, after Zuma’s former financial adviser and confidant Schabir Shaik was convicted of fraud and corruption relating to paying a R500 000 a year bribe to Zuma for support and protection of Thint during the arms-deal process.

“When the applicant contends that the warrant was deficient, they must say that the [Supreme Court of Appeal] was wrong,” said Trengove.

“How much the warrant says depends on the terms of the legislation under which it was issued,” he said.

Trengove said the warrants clearly stated for which investigation the warrants were required.

Asked by Justice Sandile Ngcobo whether a subpoena would have been sufficient instead of a warrant, Trengove said that the state faced the risk that “a lesser means won’t work”.

Trengove had argued that the state could not always assume that a suspect would willingly hand over documentation that had been subpoenaed.

The Constitutional Court was originally only going to hear an application to seek leave to appeal.

However, it emerged on Tuesday morning that the court would hear the search-warrant matter at the same time as hearing the application for leave to appeal. - Sapa

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