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ANC’s Plan to Save Zuma

The ANC and its president Jacob Zuma are expected to spill the beans about other corruption in the arms deal when they make representations to the National Prosecuting Authority in the weeks ahead on why the charges against Zuma should be dropped.

The Mail & Guardian has established that the ANC intends to show the NPA that Zuma is small fry in the arms deal saga and that it is in possession of much more damaging evidence, including documentation that allegedly implicates former president Thabo Mbeki and Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota in wrongdoing.

High-profile legal teams hired by Zuma and the ANC also plan to:

    * “Prove” to the NPA that Zuma had no criminal intent when he accepted gifts and money from fraud    convict Schabir Shaik and can therefore not be convicted of corruption; and
    * Argue that persisting with Zuma’s prosecution is not in the public interest.

The ANC adopted this hard-line approach after Monday’s judgement by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which effectively reinstated corruption, fraud, racketeering and money-laundering charges against Zuma and threw out Judge Chris Nicholson’s finding that there had been political meddling in the case.

The M&G spoke to four senior members of the ANC’s national executive committee and a range of legal sources linked to the Zuma prosecution, who confirmed that a plea bargain with the state, involving an admission of guilt on at least some charges, is no longer an option.

It is understood that “serious talks” took place late last year between a Zuma representative — thought to be Johannesburg senior counsel Nazeer Cassim — and the NPA, during which the possibility of a plea bargain was explored.

But the talks were aborted when Zuma “decided totake his chances in court”, said the source.

Now that the Nicholson judgement has boomeranged, and with elections approaching, Zuma and the ANC want all 18 charges dropped.

“We’re saying, let’s look at all other possibilities, but not at plea bargains,” former Limpopo premier and NEC member Ngoako Ramatlhodi told the M&G this week.

It is understood that the ANC and Zuma will make separate representations to the NPA, with Zuma focusing on the 18 charges against him and why the state cannot prove his guilt.-Mail & Guardian

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