Corruption trial: ’Jacob Zuma wants Billy Downer out’

Pietermaritzburg – Former president Jacob Zuma’s pretrial hearing has been moved to next week Wednesday.

The postponement of of the fraud, corruption and money laundering case against him is to allow his legal team to argue why advocate Billy Downer SC should not be the prosecutor in the Pietermaritzburg High Court trial.

While Zuma’s team have not open stated their reasons for this, Independent Media understands that they accuse Downer of professional misconduct and bias. Details of why they want him out will be publicly known next week.

Zuma’s legal team is understood to be arguing that Downer’s appetite for the case is no longer about his professional work but rather to politically nail Zuma who has said the charges against him were politically motivated.

In the long-mothballed trial, Zuma is accused of pocketing bribes from Durban businessman Schabir Shaik during the procurement of arms between 1998 and 1999.

The bribes allegedly came from Thales, a French arms company that scored some dubious contracts during the procurement. It is a co-accused in the matter.

Presiding over the matter on Monday, Judge Piet Koen ordered that parties work on their affidavits, so that the matter could be heard next week in a open court.

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