31 March 2016

Jacob Zuma ordered to refund over $16 million

President-Jacob-ZumaA constitutional court in South Africa has ordered President Jacob Zuma to repay costs of upgrading his house with public funds. Zuma will pay more than about $16 million which he used to upgrade his private residence where he added security, a swimming pool, a chicken run, a cattle enclosure, an amphitheatre, and a visitors’ centre at the estate. The Constitutional Court ruled that President Zuma violated the constitution when he failed to repay some of the government money used to upgrade his private home. The treasury had 60 days to determine how much he should repay, it added. The ruling is a victory for the opposition, which said it would push for Mr Zuma’s impeachment after accusing him of using “ill-gotten wealth” to upgrade his home. Mr Zuma denied any wrongdoing and he has not yet commented on the ruling.

An anti-corruption body, known as the public protector, ruled in 2014 that $23m (£15m) had been spent on his rural home in Nkandla in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Mr Zuma had “unduly benefited”, and should repay a portion of the money, the public protector said. In a unanimous judgement, the Constitutional Court said Mr Zuma’s failure to heed the directive was “inconsistent” with the constitution. “The president failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution of the Republic,” it added. The case was brought by two opposition parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA). Mr Zuma’s conduct constituted “grounds for impeachment”, the DA said in its reaction to the judgement.


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