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Zuma trial: South Africa ex-leader to institute private prosecution against prosecutor Billy Downer

Former South African President Jacob Zuma is to launch a private prosecution against State prosecutor Billy Downer   -  
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Jerome Delay/The Associated Press.

South Africa

Jacob Zuma has continued his bid to remove the lead prosecutor from the highly anticipated corruption trial against the former South African President, that commenced on Monday.

Mr Zuma faces multiple charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a $2bn (€1.8bn) 1990s arms deal with several European companies.

He is charged alongside French company Thales. Both deny the charges, which Zuma claims are a witch-hunt by political rivals.

Last month the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) rejected Zuma's application to have prosecutor Billy Downer taken off the case.

Mr Downer was accused of bias and leaking confidential information to a journalist in contravention of the national prosecution act, among other complaints.

The SCA dismissed the application for leave to appeal on the grounds that there was no reasonable prospect of success and there was no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation said Zuma's legal team have been instructed to institute a private prosecution against Mr Downer "in the next few days".

A reconsideration application has also been filed a petition to hear the appeal to the president of the SCA.

The case has dogged Zuma since he was sacked as deputy president of the country in 2005.

Zuma, who turns 80 on Tuesday, will be present in court for the long-delayed trial.

On Monday Mr Zuma’s lawyers will respond to the prosecution's affidavit, which seeks to introduce new evidence.

Zuma is applying for a postponement because "it is very clear that the conditions for a fair trial are non-existent," spokesman of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, said.

"All His Excellency President Zuma really wants is his day in court, in a fair trial and certainly not in a forum which is being rigged by the State," Manyi added.

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