Pietermaritzburg – After scoring a court victory at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is adamant that Advocate Billy Downer will lead the prosecution of former President Jacob Zuma, for his alleged corruption in the arms deal of the late 90s.
Speaking in the corridors of the high court, NPA spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga, said Downer was still their main man in the case.
“We are steadfast and ready to proceed with Mr Downer as the lead prosecutor in the (Zuma corruption) case, he will see this prosecution through,” Mhaga said about Downer’s participation.
Zuma had launched a special application, asking the court to remove Downer as the lead prosecutor, who in the main, he had accused of leaking information about his corruption trial to third and unauthorised parties, including CIA spies, and some local media houses. He also accused Downer of leaking his confidential medical report to a journalist.
Spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Foundation of which Zuma is a patron, Mzwanele Manyi, said they were unhappy with the ruling by Judge Piet Koen not to remove Downer from the case.
Manyi accused Judge Koen of bending the law just to allow Downer to lead the prosecution merely because prosecutors are not supposed to be impartial.
“The foundation is very clear on this matter, we are going to advise President Zuma to appeal… It cannot be accepted,” Manyi said.
Koen said Zuma’s had not established that Downer did not have the ’title’ to prosecute hence the special plea was dismissed.
“I conclude that Mr Zuma’s complaint even if taken at face value do not affect the title of Mr Downer to prosecute, I also conclude that there is no basis to assign a wider meaning to the word ‘title’ to include instances of a lack of independence, impartiality or bias on the part of a prosecutor.
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“There is no need for such development as adequate remedies already exists in our law to cater for the situation where the fair trial right of the accused would be infringed, the special plea therefore forced to be dismissed.”
After dismissing the application by Zuma, Koen ruled that the corruption trial should sit from 11 April 22.