A lawyer for the French arms firm accused of bribing then deputy president Jacob Zuma, advocate Anton Katz, appeared to have a tough time convincing three judges that the case against Thales SA should be permanently dropped. It is the state’s case that Thales, in a deal brokered by Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, agreed to pay Zuma an annual bribe of R500,000 to protect the company from any potential investigation into the R60bn arms deal. The company had scored a R2.6bn contract to provide four navy frigates to SA’s government as part of that deal. Thales SA, which formerly traded as Thomson-CSF, contends it “has suffered significant and irreparable prejudice to its fair trial rights” as a direct result of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) delay in prosecuting it from 2009 to 2018. Thales argues that the NPA was solely responsible for this nine-year delay, which was caused by then acting prosecuting head Mokotedi Mpshe’s unlawful decision to withdraw the...

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