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South African Ex-President Jacob Zuma Charged With Corruption

South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma has been charged with corruption linked to a 1990s arms deal. After the 75-year-old's 15-minute appearance at the High Court in Durban, the case was adjourned until 8 June. He faces 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering, which dogged his presidency and were reinstated in 2016. Mr Zuma, who was forced out of office in February, denies any wrongdoing.

 

His supporters descended on the city to rally for him, while his critics think court action is long overdue.  After the hearing, Mr Zuma addressed the crowds who had come to stand alongside him at the court in his home province. "I have never seen it before where someone is charged with a crime, those charges are dropped and then years later those same charges are re-instated. This is a just a political conspiracy," he said, speaking in Zulu. 

 

He then led the crowd in song and dance. The arms deal took place in 1999, the year Mr Zuma moved from being a provincial minister to deputy president. He is accused of accepting 783 illegal payments. His financial adviser, Schabir Shaikh, was found guilty of trying to solicit bribes on his behalf from a French arms firm and was jailed in 2005.

 

The case against Mr Zuma was dropped shortly before he ran for president in 2009.A woman representing French arms manufacturer Thales was also in the Durban courthouse on Friday, as the company faces corruption charges too. 

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