The high court dismissed Former president Jacob Zuma’s application to have prosecutor Billy Downer removed from his corruption case.
In June, the former president made an application to have the prosecutor in his arms deal corruption trial removed, arguing that prosecutor Billy Downer was biased against him.
Last week, he filed two criminal charges against Downer at the Pietermaritzburg Police Station, accusing him of intentionally leaking confidential information to the media. Handing down judgment, on Tuesday at the Pietermaritzburg court, Judge Piet Koen dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s application for the recusal of senior state advocate, Billy Downer.
He said there was no basis to remove Downer from the case since Zuma’s attacks on Downer were largely speculative. “I conclude that Mr. Zuma’s complaint even if taken at face value do not affect the title of Mr. Downer to prosecute, I also conclude that there is no basis to assign a wider meaning to the word ‘title’ to include instances of a lack of independence, impartiality or bias on the part of a prosecutor.”
“The special plea is dismissed. It is obviously in the interests of all the parties – the accused, the State representing the general public – that this matter be resolved as soon as is reasonably possible. It has been hanging around too long,” Koen said.
Zuma’s trial is set to start on 11 April 2022. The former president and French arms company Thales are facing charges of corruption, racketeering, and money laundering relating to the 1999 multi-billion-rand arms deal.