JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Former South African President Jacob Zuma did not appear Monday in a corruption probe during his tenure, despite the country’s high court ordering him to appear.
Zuma’s lawyers confirmed in a letter to the investigation that Zuma would not participate in the investigation this week, when he had to give evidence.
“The call issued to our client to appear on February 15-19, 2021 is irregular,” the letter said, justifying his non-appearance.
The investigation led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is investigating allegations of high-level corruption during his nine years in power.
Zuma, a key witness in the investigation, denies wrongdoing but did not cooperate with the investigation.
Zuma was ousted as president in 2018 over allegations that include businessmen close to him using their position to plunder state resources and influence politics.
Zuma withdrew from the proceedings in November without permission, after which the investigation approached the constitutional court to have him reappear and give evidence.
Zondo said, “it’s difficult to understand why he (Zuma) would be afraid of the witness standing and being questioned like everyone else.”
One of Zuma’s lawyers did not respond to a Reuters message asking for comment.
A lawyer for the investigation said Monday that Zuma had so far been implicated by the evidence of at least 40 witnesses.
“Regardless of whether Mr Zuma believes he has been charged with wrongdoing or not his responses to those allegations are still directly relevant to the work of this commission,” said attorney Paul Pretorius.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Tim Cocks)
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