NPA tight-lipped on next move

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigators are playing their cards close to their chest over when they will lay corruption and fraud charges against ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, though speculation is mounting that he might be charged within days.

NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali would not provide a time frame for a possible decision.

"We cannot put a time frame on this particular process. We don't know how long it will take," Tlali told Sowetan yesterday.

His comments come in the wake of a Sunday Times report that Scorpions' prosecutors were drawing up a document over the next few days recommending that charges be laid against Zuma.

Tlali said last week's Supreme Court of Appeal decision gave the NPA the "green light" to look at all the documents seized during raids on Zuma's home and the offices of his lawyers.

A report will be drawn up and presented to the head of the Scorpions as well as to the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe for a final decision.

The NPA won a significant victory in the appeals court last Thursday, which gives it access to crucial documents related to Zuma's links with arms-deal suppliers and payments he allegedly received from his jailed financial adviser Schabir Shaik and other businessmen. The payments include an alleged R500000 bribe Shaik solicited for Zuma from French arms company Thint.

But a decision by the NPA could be further delayed if Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, wins the right to appeal the decision. If the appeal fails, Hulley has the option of going to the Constitutional Court.

Tlali would not say what the NPA's response would be to these court challenges.

But Sowetan has reliably learnt that there might be a long delay in charging Zuma if the matter goes to the Constitutional Court. It is then unlikely that he will be charged before the ANC's conference next month.