Former South African President Jacob Zuma was sentenced Tuesday (29) to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after refusing to attend hearings convened by a commission of inquiry into the corruption charges brought against him. Now Zuma has five days to report to the police.
The former president appeared only once before the commission of inquiry and ignored several subsequent summons. He cited medical reasons or said he was preparing his defense for other cases.
Zuma, 79, was ousted from the presidency in 2018 in a move orchestrated by the allies of his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, the current leader of South Africa. The former president has since been prosecuted. judicial proceedings and accusations of corruption crimes committed before and during. its mandate.
This includes the so-called “Zondo Commission”, in which allegations of corruption involving three Indian tycoons – brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta – during the Zuma government are being investigated. The former president denies any wrongdoing, but has so far not cooperated with investigations. The Gupta brothers, who also deny the charges, left South Africa after Zuma’s testimony.
In another case, he faces 16 counts of fraud, corruption and organized crime related to the purchase of military equipment from five European companies in 1999, when Zuma was the country’s vice president.
He is alleged to have pocketed more than four million rand (around 1.4 million reais at the current rate) in bribes paid by the French company Thales, one of the groups that won a contract with the South African government valued in excess of 3.3 billion US dollars (16.3 billion reais).
Zuma sent a 21-page letter to the Constitutional Court in which he claims he was treated unfairly. In a public response to the document, court judge Sisi Khampepe said the former president was trying “to gain public sympathy through unfounded allegations.”[que] they go against reason and are an insult “to the Constitution.
“I have no choice but to send Zuma to prison in the hope that this will send him a clear message: that the rule of law and justice must prevail,” Khampepe said.
A spokesperson for the former president told a South African television station that his defense would study the Constitutional Court’s decision before issuing a statement.