The office of the president of the Republic of South Africa is yet to respond to questions that have been abuzz in the media about the evidence that has surfaced that points to several corruption charges that were dropped back in 2009 just before Jacob Zuma became president. Several questions were emailed to Mac Maharaj, the presidential spokesman both on Friday and on Monday morning and a response is yet to be obtained.
It appears that, back in April, 2009, the then senior prosecutor, Billy Downer, sent a memoandum to the then National Prosecuting Authority head Mokotedi Mpshe, in which he said the charges against Zuma were of the “most shocking corruption”, with the prosecutor expressing a willingness to prosecute. This document was apparently in response to communication that Zuma’s legal representative, attorney Michael Hulley had argued that the charges against his client should be dropped since he was about to become the president and if the charges were to go ahead, the country would be thrown into a constitutional crisis.
This is the same argument that the former president of the United States, Richard Nixon, had used in an attempt to avoid prosecution. In his memorandum, Downer argued that there was a difference between the two scenarios because, while Nixon had been a serving president at the time, Zuma was not at the time the president of the country. Billy Downer further argued to his superior that even with the same argument, Nixon had not survived politically. He was threatened with impeachment and had then resigned.
According to the Afrikaans daily newspaper, the Beeld, which claimed to have the memorandum in its possession, the charges that were being preferred against Jacob Zuma were serious and they showed that he was part of an “extended scheme of corruption” that was meant to benefit the ruling ANC in perpetuity. A few days after receiving this memorandum, Mpshe announced that the charges against Zuma has been dropped because there was a political conspiracy against him. When contacted to comment on the existence of the memorandum, no response was forthcoming from Mpshe.