Zuma faces corruption trial

South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma is to face prosecution for 16 charges of corruption relating to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal.

The case centres on a 30bn rand ($2.5bn; £1.7bn) deal to modernise the country’s defence in the late 1990s.

The charges, which Zuma denies, include counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Zuma, 75, was forced to resign as president last month by his party, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

He was facing his ninth no-confidence vote in parliament before he left office.

Chief Prosecutor Shaun Abraham said he believed there were ‘reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution’ in the case.

French arms supplier Thales would also face charges, a prosecutor said.

Thales declined to comment, reports the AFP news agency.

Zuma is alleged to have sought bribes from Thales to support an extravagant lifestyle.

His financial adviser at the time was found guilty of soliciting those bribes in 2005 and Zuma was later sacked as deputy president.

Original charges against Zuma were controversially dropped shortly before he became president in 2009.

He now faces one charge of racketeering, two charges of corruption, one charge of money laundering and 12 of fraud.

Shaun Abrahams, head of the National Prosecuting Authority, said a trial court was the appropriate place for the matter to be decided.

He dismissed representations made by Zuma asking that the charges be dropped.

The former ANC chief had argued that the charges against him were characterised by misconduct, ‘irrational behaviour’ and media leaks on the part of prosecutors.

Zuma has always denied the allegations against him./BBC