The South African High Court has ruled that former President Jacob Zuma alongside French arms dealer, Thales, accused of graft in a case going back more than twenty years, will be tried in May and June later this year.
Judge Nkosinathi Chili at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday said the matter was certified as trial-ready, as Zuma stands accused of rampant corruption during his tenure as Deputy President from 1999, and later as President from 2009 to 2018, although he denies the accusation.
Zuma is facing 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering relating to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment.
He allegedly took bribes of four million rand ($270,000 or 224,000 euros) over a $3.4-billion from Thales in1999 in exchange for protecting the company from an investigation into a deal to supply military hardware to South Africa.
Thales, known as Thompson-CSF in 1999, has consistently said it has no knowledge of any transgressions having been committed by any of its employees in relation to the awarding of the contracts.
Zuma is separately accused of enabling runaway looting of state assets during his tenure.
The ex-South-African leader whose leadership was forced to an end in 2018 after nine years in power, has repeatedly dishonoured summonses by the commission, saying its chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is biased.
He testified only once, in July 2019, and staged a walkout days later in a second occasion. The judicial panel probing this alleged graft on Monday sought orders to jail Zuma for two years for defying a court order compelling him to testify.
The findings of the anti-corruption commission will not lead directly to indictments but may be handed to the prosecution for possible charges.