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Corruption trial: Absentee ex-South African Pres. Zuma gets court’s arrest warrant

President Jacob Zuma gestures during his question and answer session in Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

In South Africa, embattled former President Jacob Zuma is to be picked up by security agents following a  warrant of arrest slammed on him on Tuesday for failing to appear in court, pleading hospitalization.

Zuma is accused of accepting 500,000 rand (34,000 dollars ) annually from Thales in 1999 in exchange for protecting the company from an investigation into the deal.

He is on trial for corruption charges over a 2 billion dollars arms deal with French defence firm Thales in the 1990s.

Zuma, President from 2009-2018 of Africa’s most industrialised country, had previously applied for a permanent stay of prosecution on 18 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to the deal, but the court in Pietermaritzburg threw out his appeal in November.

He, however, denied the charges, describing them as a politically motivated and a witch-hunt.

Report said the former president had absented himself from court on health grounds.

The judge stayed the warrant until his corruption trial resumes on May 6.

Zuma’s lawyer had presented the judge with a sick note from what he said was a military hospital, but the judge questioned whether the note was valid or even written by a doctor.

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Written by Kunle Akinsola

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