Former South African President Jacob Zuma has been granted permission to prosecute Billy Downer, the lead prosecutor in his arms deal corruption trial, privately.
Zuma filed a criminal complaint against the lawyer, alleging that he leaked his medical records to the press. The former president wants him removed from the arms deal investigation, accusing him of lack of independence and impartiality.
The director of public prosecutions in the province of KwaZulu-Natal says there is insufficient evidence to pursue the case against Downer, though Zuma can do so privately.
The latest development is seen as Zuma’s legal team’s latest delay tactic to avoid the trial, which is set to resume in August.
The former president is accused of racketeering, corruption, money laundering, and fraud after allegedly accepting bribes from the French arms company Thales in exchange for lucrative defense contracts with the South African government.
Zuma has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges leveled against him. If he proceeds with the private prosecution, it must be launched within three months.
Zuma was released on medical parole in September, nearly two months into his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court in a separate case.
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