South Africa judge files criminal complaint against ex-prez

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African judge said he will file a criminal complaint against former South African president Jacob Zuma after he staged a dramatic walkout while attending a commission of inquiry looking into corruption during his tenure from 2009 to 2018.

Zuma left the commission hearing without permission after Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo dismissed an application asking him to recuse himself as chair of the inquiry. Zuma alleges Zondo is biased against him.

Zuma has been asked to respond to various allegations implicating him from at least 35 affidavits by witnesses who have appeared before the commission. These include allegations, among others, that he was involved in ensuring that members of the controversial Gupta family secured lucrative state contracts and influenced his appointments of cabinet ministers.

Zondo announced Monday that he would also file an application to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, to enforce a summons issued against Zuma and compel him to appear before the commission.

Zuma appeared before the commission last week for the first time in over a year after abandoning his testimony at the inquiry in 2019.

His lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane SC told the commission that Zuma would appeal against Zondo’s decision to dismiss his application, and would also file a complaint with the Judicial Services Commission, a statutory judicial regulatory body, against Judge Zondo for presiding over a matter involving himself.

Zuma’s legal steps against the commission and its chairperson are widely seen as delay tactics to avoid facing questions about his role in corruption and state capture allegations that occurred largely from 2009 to 2018.

The criminal complaint will add to Zuma’s legal woes, which include corruption charges related to the country’s 1999 arms procurement deal in which he is accused of receiving bribes and for which he will possibly stand trial in 2021.

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