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19 Mar 2009 08:49
Schabir Shaik’s brother, Mo Shaik, was criticised by the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League on Wednesday for his “opportunistic” statement suggesting that party leader Jacob Zuma’s charges would be dropped.
“Mo Shaik should be aware that he had no authority to make such remarks for whatever reasons, particularly before the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] makes its own independent pronouncements,” the youth wing of the ANC said in a statement.
Shaik’s brother, fraud convict Schabir Schaik, is Zuma’s former financial adviser.
Shaik told students and ANC members at the University of Pretoria on Tuesday :“Many of you will be moved by what I’m about to say, but in the national newspapers that’s going to break tomorrow [Wednesday] morning is going to be the following headlines: ‘The National Prosecuting Authority has decided not to prosecute Jacob Zuma’. “
The youth league said they were also concerned that newspapers were the first to report about this “highly sensitive internal matter” of the NPA, before the authority could make any official communication to the Zuma’s legal representatives.
The Star and Business Day on Wednesday quoted well-placed sources close to the case as confirming it would be dropped.
“Sources say the main reason advanced is that the prosecution does not have a ‘winnable case’,” wrote The Star.
Zuma faces 16 charges—one of racketeering, one of money-laundering, two of corruption and 12 of fraud.
“This confirms our long-held view that there is a deliberate method to run a trial in the media.
Newspaper reports and statements of Mo Shaik send very confusing messages and could cast unnecessary doubts on fair legal proceedings and process of representations by the ANC president,” the youth league added.
However, in a statement issued on Wednesday, Shaik denied that he had inside information and said he was merely relaying the fact that he had been tipped off by text messages that newspapers were planning to carry reports to that effect.
“I made clear that I did not know whether this information was true or not.”
The league said they continue to believe Zuma’s case was a political one which should within “fair and opportune process of South Africa’s laws and Constitution be withdrawn, amid all of these “unfortunate happenings”.
NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said there was no truth in the “rumour”.
He however went on to add: “The decision has not been taken. The matter is under consideration.”
He further said the acting prosecutions head Mokotedi Mpshe met senior management and the team responsible for prosecuting Zuma in Pretoria earlier on Wednesday to consider the representations made for Zuma.
“We have recently been supplied with additional information by Mr Zuma’s lawyers which has necessitated further investigation, verification and careful consideration,” the NPA said.—Sapa
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