South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma will stand trial on corruption charges relating to a $2.5 billion arms deal after a Pietermaritzburg High Court denied him a permanent stay of prosecution on Friday.
The ruling by Judge Jerome Mnguni paves way for Zuma’s trial to start on Oct. 15.
Zuma, who was in office from 2009-2018, had applied for a permanent stay of prosecution from 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy 30 billion rand of European military hardware for South Africa’s armed forces in the late 1990s.
The 77-year-old has denied any wrongdoing and has said he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt.
The charges against Zuma were originally filed a decade ago but then set aside by the National Prosecuting Authority shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009.
After his election, his opponents fought a lengthy legal battle to have the charges reinstated, finally succeeding in 2016. Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.