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Former South African president sentenced to 15 months in prison

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa found former President Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison.

“Jacob Zuma is guilty of contempt of court,” Judge Seely Hampepe read the decision, stressing that Zuma has five days to come to the police station and surrender to the authorities.

The lawsuit against Zuma was filed in the Constitutional Court by a special commission chaired by the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, Raymond Zondo, in the case of state corruption. “The Commission demands that Zuma be sentenced to a prison term, as his behavior threatens the entire constitutional order of South Africa,” the lawsuit says. It is emphasized that the former president of South Africa creates a dangerous precedent by ignoring the decisions of the Constitutional Court.

The Zondo Commission has repeatedly summoned Jacob Zuma to testify on corruption charges, but the former head of state refused to comply with these requirements. As a result, the commission requested the opinion of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The latter made a decision on January 28, according to which Jacob Zuma must appear before the commission and give evidence. However, even after that, the former president did not arrive at the commission on another call. As a result, the commission filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court demanding that Zuma be sentenced to two years in prison.

The Zondo Commission, created in the summer of 2018 by the government of South Africa, is primarily engaged in investigating allegations against former South African President Jacob Zuma of involvement in the conspiracy of the oligarchic Gupta family in order to “seize the state”. During the work of this commission, facts of corruption, bribery, other financial crimes, as well as the illegal use of official positions, government services, and State institutions to enrich the Gupta family and its entourage have already been established.

Simultaneously with the work of the Zondo Commission, the trial of Jacob Zuma and the French industrial group Thales begins in the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in the city of Pietermaritzburg on July 19. They are charged with 12 counts of fraud, four counts of corruption, and one count of racketeering and money laundering. If the court finds the former head of state guilty, he faces a term of up to 25 years in prison. At the center of the proceedings is a $2.5 billion contract that Thales signed in the 1990s with the South African government for the supply of warships, and related subsequent events. The South African prosecutor's office accuses Zuma of receiving a bribe of 500 thousand rands (30 thousand dollars) from Thales on an annual basis. The ex-president insists on his innocence and claims that the trial is politically motivated.

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