The path to court: Zuma and the arms deal

Saturday April 7 2018

Jacob Zuma

Former South African president Jacob Zuma appears at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on April 6, 2018. PHOTO | NIC BOTHMA | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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Here is a timeline of major events in the corruption charges against South African former President Jacob Zuma:

Red flag

  • November 1998: The cabinet approves an arms deal at a price tag of $2.5 billion. On the same day Zuma, then a provincial minister, meets with his personal financial advisor Schabir Shaik and an official from French arms dealer Thomson-CSF. The auditor-general soon raises a red flag over the deal as "high-risk".

  • June 1999: Thabo Mbeki is elected president of South Africa with Jacob Zuma as his deputy.

  • September 1999: An opposition lawmaker Patricia de Lille alerts parliament that the arms deal could be graft-ridden and calls for an inquiry.

  • December 1999: Finance Minister Trevor Manuel seals the deal at 29.9 billion rand.

  • February 2000: The serious economic crimes offences police unit known as the Scorpions launch investigations.

  • October 2004: Trial of Zuma's adviser Shaik opens.

President Zuma

  • June 2005: Shaik is convicted and jailed for 15 years for fraud and corruption. Four years later he is released on medical parole in 2009, the year Zuma becomes president.

  • Zuma is accused in court of having had a "generally corrupt" relationship with Shaik. Mbeki fires him as deputy president.

  • December 2007: Zuma is elected president of the ruling African National Congress party. Ten days later Zuma is slapped with fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges.

  • April 2009: Acting chief prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe withdraws charges against Zuma based on the phone conversation of the so-called "spy tapes" that suggest the charges were politically motivated.

  • May 2009: Zuma is sworn in as South Africa's president.

Mounting scandal

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  • April 2016: The inquiry clears all government officials of corruption over the arms deal. But days later, the High Court in Pretoria rules that the 2009 decision to drop the charges was "irrational" and that charges must be reinstated.

  • October 2017: The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that Zuma is liable for prosecution.

  • February 2018: Zuma is forced to resign as South African president by his party in the wake of mounting corruption scandals.

  • March 2018: Prosecutors decide he should face 12 counts of fraud, two of corruption, one of racketeering and one of money laundering.

  • April 2018: Zuma appears in Durban High Court for preliminary hearing, with the case adjourned until June 8.

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