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World News

South African corruption inquiry to file criminal complaint against Zuma

South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma, returns to the commission of inquiry probing state capture, in Johannesburg, South Africa November 16, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African corruption inquiry will lodge a criminal complaint against Jacob Zuma, after the former president left the proceedings last week without obtaining permission, the presiding judge said on Monday.

“The summons directing Mr Zuma to attend and remain in attendance was at the time of his departure from the commission still valid and binding, and had not been set aside,” Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said.

“I have decided to request the secretary of the commission to lay a criminal complaint with the South African police against Mr Zuma, so that the police can investigate his conduct,” Zondo added.

Zuma, whose nine years as head of state until February 2018 were marred by scandal, did not immediately comment.

A number of witnesses at the inquiry have implicated him in alleged wrongdoing. Zuma has denied the allegations against him.

Zuma had sought Zondo’s recusal from the inquiry, maintaining that the judge was biased against him, but his application last week failed, after which Zuma walked out of the proceedings.

Zondo said on Monday that he would determine new dates when Zuma would have to appear before the inquiry.

The secretary of the proceedings will apply to the constitutional court to compel Zuma to appear.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Joe Bavier and Mark Heinrich

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