S. African Court Throws Out Zuma Graft Case

Ruling clears way for leader to become president
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2008 8:30 AM CDT
African National Congress President Jacob Zuma, prior to delivering his his speech at the University of Johannesburg, Tuesday, Sept, 9, 2008. A court dropped all charges against Zuma today.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – A South African court has thrown out a corruption case against Jacob Zuma, effectively clearing the way for him to become president next year. The judge ruled that the charges—including 12 counts of fraud, four of corruption, and one each of racketeering and money laundering—were invalid because he was not given the opportunity to respond before his indictment. He also said that Zuma seemed to be the victim of a political prosecution, reports the Mail & Guardian.

The case dropped today concerned a suspicious 1999 arms deal—for which Zuma has already faced other unsuccessful charges. His other brushes with the law include an accusation of rape, for which he was acquitted in 2006. Outside the courthouse in Pietermaritzburg, one rejoicing Zuma supporter said, "We came here to celebrate and we are going to celebrate. This exposed Thabo Mbeki and everybody who did this to him."