Former president Jacob Zuma has pleaded not guilty to all charges which form part of an indictment in his corruption trial.
FORMER president Jacob Zuma has pleaded not guilty to all charges which form part of an indictment in his corruption trial.
Zuma stood up in the dock at the Pietermaritzburg High Court as Judge Piet Koen asked him how he plans to plead to the charges that had been read out by prosecutor advocate Billy Downer.
Koen: “How do you plead to the charges put before you?”
Zuma: “Yes, I heard them. I plead not guilty”.
Downer had read through the charges contained in the indictment against Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales.
Zuma is on trial on charges of racketeering, two counts of corruption and 12 counts of fraud – nine of which are for allegedly making false income tax returns. He is charged along with French arms manufacturer Thales.
A summary of some of the charges read out by Downer:
• The first charge against Zuma deals with racketeering – in which Thales and Zuma had participated in criminal activity from October 1995 to 2005 and that the accused participated in racketeering activity.
• Count two is against Zuma and deals with corruption charge. During the period in question, Zuma had unlawfully received benefits that were illegally due from Mr Shaik and other entities (Thales). A total schedule of 783 payments was allegedly received by Zuma with an estimated total of R4.872 million.
• Zuma is also charged with accepting an annual bribe of R500 000 from Thales for the company’s benefit. Count six deals with Thales and Zuma which alleges the two were guilty of money laundering.
• The former president also faces charges for tax evasion and fraud. The fraud charge deals with Zuma’s non-disclosure of the payments he received money or sponsorships from Thales for the periods mentioned to Parliament.
A representative from Thales said the company pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. The French arms company is accused of bribing Zuma via Schabir Shaik in order to win tenders during the arms acquisition of 1998 and 99.