Former South African President Jacob Zuma faces corruption trial, says chief prosecutor

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Former South African president Jacob Zuma should stand trial in a long-running legal saga over alleged kickbacks in a huge arms deal, the head of the National Prosecuting Authority said Friday.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams in Pretoria on Friday said Zuma's claims that the NPA was bias and investigators abused his rights weren't enough for the former president to avoid court.

In a televised statement on March 16, director of the national prosecuting authority Shaun Abrahams said he believed there were "reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution" of Zuma.

The NPA's KwaZulu-Natal director of Public Prosecutions Moipone Noko has been told to facilitate Zuma's appearance in court, said Abrahams.

He said Zuma should be sued for the R15m of taxpayers' money that was "squandered on legal fees to defend his dubious deeds".

A year ago the Supreme Court confirmed a High Court decision that former NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe erred when he chose to drop the corruption charges against Zuma in 2009. Additionally, a judicial panel is preparing to view allegations of corruption at high levels of the South African government during Zuma's years in office.

Former South African Jacob Zuma, gestures as a new party leader addresses delegates during the closing of the ANC's elective conference in Johannesburg.

The charges include 12 counts of fraud, one of racketeering, two of corruption and one of money laundering.

The charges relate to a 30 billion rand ($2.5 billion) arms deal in the late 1990s, when Zuma was deputy president.

Both the Guptas and Mr Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

An anti-corruption body found he had spent $23m (£15m) on refurbishments including a swimming pool and an amphitheatre.

"This is a very historic day".

This is the same party that fought tooth and nail to keep Zuma out of jail and cried foul whenever charges were levelled against him. Previous year the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Zuma's appeal of this high court order.

Smouldering rumours of the family's undue influence on the president burst into flames in 2016 when evidence emerged they allegedly offered key government jobs to those who might help their business interests.