Ex-South African President Zuma faces corruption charges next week

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.

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