Adv. Mpofu Gives Reasons To Remove Downer

Advocate Dali Mpofu on Tuesday told the Pietermaritzburg High Court why his client former president Jacob Zuma is requesting the removal of prosecutor Billy Downer from his corruption trial and an acquittal.

From shedding tears when he heard the case against Zuma had been dropped, to leaking an affidavit with the former president’s confidential medical records to a female journalist, Downer’s conduct rendered him without title to prosecute, Advocate Mpofu said.

Arguing for Downer’s recusal and Zuma’s acquittal, Advocate Mpofu said the misconduct also included public lectures on the matter.

Downer admitted that he did hold a public lecture on the Zuma trial – something Advocate Mpofu said was enough to remove the prosecutor from the case.

Advocate Mpofu earlier on Tuesday explained that a successful recusal of a prosecutor should result in the acquittal of an accused person.

Zuma, who did not attend the court case, wants ultimately to be acquitted of all charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering.

Advocate Mpofu also revealed that Zuma wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa to complain about the conduct of Downer.

He read Ramaphosa’s response, which said the matter was so serious it would be investigated by the justice minister.

Ramaphosa also said the matter would be referred to the South African Legal Practice Council.

“Those transgressions will entitle the accused to an acquittal,” said Advocate Mpofu.

The decades-old allegations are that Zuma took R4.1-million, in 791 installments, from his then financial adviser Schabir Shaik,  as a bribe to use his influence to help French arms manufacturer Thales secure contracts in the arms deal.

Zuma and Thales deny the allegations.

The matter continues …