A court has ruled that South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma must pay back the money provided for his legal fees. It is estimated that the state has paid between $1m (£792,000) and $2.2m in legal costs for him.
Zuma has been fighting multiple allegations of corruption for more than a decade and has incurred millions of dollars in legal fees. The court’s decision marks the end of a poor year for Zuma, who was forced out of office in February.
His successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been working to restore public confidence in the country’s prosecution service. Ramaphosa recently admitted that an agreement between Zuma and former President Thabo Mbeki had formed the basis of the decision to continue paying Zuma’s legal fees, more than a decade ago.
A judge has now declared the agreement invalid and ordered the state attorney to take steps to recover all legal costs incurred. Zuma has a large family, and has often sought financial support from business associates a habit that lies at the heart of the many corruption scandals that have engulfed him.
He faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering stemming from hundreds of payments made to him in relation to a 1990s arms procurement deal but Zuma denies any wrongdoing.