Zuma's legal fees judgment expected today
Former President Jacob Zuma will hear today whether he will have to foot the bill for his graft case. The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) will hand down judgment in the application brought by the DA to have the agreement authorising state funding of Zuma's defence in criminal cases set aside, reports BusinessLIVE.
Earlier, Zuma pleaded poverty.
In March, Michael Hulley, who has since been fired as Zuma's lawyer, said without state funding, the former President would not have the means to defend himself in court. Since then Zuma has replaced his entire legal team.
Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering stemming from 783 alleged payments to him in relation to the arms deal when he was KZN MEC of Economic Affairs and Tourism. He appeared in court in November when the matter was postponed to 20 May.
The DA and the EFF have asked the court for a declaratory order that it was illegal to pay Zuma's legal fees and to order the state attorney to determine how much money was paid in the process and then recover it from Zuma, if needs be through civil action.
Today's ruling may set a precedent for government officials paying their own legal costs, opines a report in The Citizen. The agreement signed by Zuma under former President Thabo Mbeki agreed the state would continue footing the bill for Zuma in the spy tapes case.
The DA's federal council chairperson James Selfe has made it clear that Zuma should not be entitled to any more financial support from the state. This comes after the Presidency stated Zuma's legal fees would remain covered by the state until a court decided otherwise.
Zuma's advocate, Thabani Masuku, argued in defence of state funding for his client and submitted that the applications should be thrown out because the DA and EFF took time to launch their applications.
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for the EFF, however, argued that according to their calculations, Zuma had spent more than R32m on litigation, but no one was certain as the State Attorney appeared not to have properly managed Zuma's legal costs.
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