Jacob Zuma suing lead prosecutor in corruption trial, journalist for leaking former president’s medical information
Former South African President Jacob Zuma launched a private prosecution Tuesday against advocate Billy Downer, a senior state prosecutor who is leading Zuma’s multi-million dollar arms deal corruption trial.
The Jacob Zuma foundation said the former president is suing Downer for leaking his medical information to a journalist who later published it.
Zuma’s lawyers are also suing the journalist who published the information, urging that it be criminal to disclose the former leader’s confidential medical information without getting written permission from the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).
Zuma, 80, and French arms firm, Thales, face several counts of corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and racketeering in connection with a $2.5 billion weapons deal in the late 1990s. Both deny any wrongdoing.
Downer is the lead prosecutor in Zuma’s corruption case. Zuma’s lawyers have accused him of bias and want him removed from the case.
The former president’s medical records were published after he was released on medical parole last year following his arrest and imprisonment for contempt of court.
Zuma was jailed for 15 months after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt for refusing to appear before a judicial commission investigating corruption during his nearly decade-long presidency.
He was released on medical parole after two months before a court rescinded the “unlawful” parole in December and ruled that he should be returned to prison.
His lawyers, however, successfully challenged the ruling and Zuma has been serving his prison term under house arrest.
The arms deal corruption trial is one of the longest legal battles in the country which has dragged out for years.