South African court jails ex-leader Zuma for 15 months after lack of inquiry



JOHANNESBURG, June 29 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday sentenced former President Jacob Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after he failed to appear for a corruption probe earlier this year.

Zuma did not appear at the inquest led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in February, after which inquest lawyers approached the constitutional court to seek an order of his imprisonment. Read more

The investigation examines allegations of high-level corruption during Zuma’s time in power from 2009 to 2018. Zuma denies any wrongdoing and has so far not cooperated.

“Mr. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is sentenced to 15 months imprisonment,” said a judge of the Constitutional Court, reading the court order.

Zuma is due to appear before police within five days, the judge added.

A spokesperson for Zuma told eNCA TV that the former president will release a statement later, without giving details.

Allegations against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him – brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta – to plunder state resources and influence politics.

The Guptas, who also deny wrongdoing, left South Africa after Zuma was ousted as part of an initiative orchestrated by allies of his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa has tried to restore investor confidence in Africa’s most industrialized country. However, he faced opposition from a faction within the ruling African National Congress, which is still loyal to Zuma.

Reporting by Alexander Winning Editing by Tim Cocks

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