Abrahams to study recommendations on Zuma charges

National prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams says he has yet to decide if former president Jacob Zuma will be prosecuted for 783 counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed on Friday that Abrahams, the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), has received recommendations from a team inside the NPA on whether Zuma should be prosecuted.

But the NPA did not reveal what the recommendations are exactly. It also did not say when the decision on Zuma’s charges will be announced.

“The NDPP has received the memorandum outlining the recommendations of the team. He will peruse it and advise on the way forward in due course,” NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told News24.

Abrahams set a deadline last week for a prosecuting team inside the NPA to report to him on whether Zuma should be prosecuted for charges related to the spy tapes saga. The team includes senior prosecutor Billy Downer, who led the original NPA team that was investigating Zuma. In 2015, Downer submitted an affidavit where he stated that he told former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka in 2003 that there was enough evidence to prosecute Zuma.

“I confirm that I urged Ngcuka to prosecute Zuma. I did so on the basis of the prosecution team’s assessment of the strength of the evidence against him. The prosecution team believed that there were reasonable prospects of success,” Downer said in his affidavit. 

Downer, who is the current deputy director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape, later criticised the 2009 decision by former prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe to withdraw charges against Zuma.

The current NPA team who made recommendations on Zuma’s prosecution is led by Advocate Moipone Noko. She was appointed to be director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal in 2013 by Zuma despite being investigated for maladministration, favouritism and abuse of her office.

The team also includes Lungi Mahlati, the Eastern Cape director of public prosecutions, Raymond Mathunjwa, a senior deputy director of public prosecutions‚ and Bloemfontein regional head Alinicia Coetzee.

The recommendations Abrahams received on Friday came after Zuma finally submitted representations at the end of January on why he should not be prosecuted after his deadline from last year was extended.Prosecutors were given close to three weeks to study Zuma’s arguments before they submitted their recommendations to Abrahams.

In October 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) upheld a decision by the Pretoria high court that charges against Zuma should be reinstated. The SCA said that the decision to withdraw charges against Zuma was “irrational”.

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