FF Plus asks protector to probe cost of Zuma case

Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) leader Pieter Mulder on Friday asked Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana to investigate expenses incurred in African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma’s prosecution.

According to the FF Plus’ calculations, between R60-million and R100-million of taxpayer money had been spent to investigate the charges against Zuma, and more than R10-million was paid in fees to his legal team, Mulder said.

The FF Plus wanted Mushwana to investigate whether the expenses became “fruitless and wasteful” in terms of the Public Finances Management Act when the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made its decision to withdraw charges against Zuma.

“We want an investigation into the question whether the NPA applied its mind to relevant provisions of the Public Finance Management Act when the decision was taken,” Mulder said.

The public’s money had been used in a political fight within the ANC.

“This is not good, it damaged the image of South Africa to the outside the world,” he said.

The NPA on Monday said it was “neither possible nor desirable for the NPA to continue with the prosecution of Mr Zuma”.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe said charges against Zuma were being dropped, eight years into the case and two weeks before elections.

The charges were dropped because there had been an abuse of process by the former head of the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO), Leonard McCarthy.

The decision was not based on the actual merits of the case, Mpshe said.

“It does not amount to an acquittal ...

“Mr McCarthy’s conduct offends one’s sense of justice. It would be unfair as well as unjust to continue with the prosecution.”

At the heart of the misconduct is the timing in which the NPA charged Zuma.

“Any timing of the charging of an accused person, which is not aimed at serving a legitimate purpose, is improper, irregular and an abuse of process.

“It is not so much the prosecution itself that is tainted but the legal process,” Mpshe said.—Sapa


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