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Lawyers representing Zuma withdraw from corruption case ahead of trial

Lawyers representing Zuma withdraw from corruption case ahead of trial
former South African President Jacob Zuma appears in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.   -  
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Michele SpatariI/AP

Jacob Zuma

Another blow to former South African President Jacob Zuma. Lawyers representing him have filed a notice seeking to withdraw from the case.

The lawyers led by Eric Mabuza filed the notice as Zuma’s attorney but did not provide any reason for the withdrawal.

The move has dealt Zuma another blow after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that he was entitled to pay for his legal fee.

The same court later ordered Zuma to pay back an estimated $2 million in lawyers' charges that he has received over the years from the state.

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 rands ($270,000) in a $3.4-billion arms deal with French aerospace and defense giant Thales in 1999, when he was deputy president.

The latest ruling is a setback for Zuma, who faces legal battles on multiple fronts, including a pending court judgment on whether he should be jailed for refusing to testify at a state commission of inquiry which is probing graft while he was president from 2009 to 2018.

The commission has heard testimony that Zuma allowed members of the controversial Gupta family to influence his cabinet appointments and state contracts in favor of their businesses.

Zuma has refused to testify at the commission, where he has been implicated by several witnesses including people who were Cabinet ministers when he was president.