A South African court has issued an arrest warrant for former President Jacob Zuma who has been on trial on 18 count charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a $2 billion arms deal with French defense firm Thales in 1999 when he was the country’s deputy president.
Judge Dhaya Pillay issued the arrest warrant after the former President failed to appear in court on grounds of needing medical treatment. Zuma’s lawyer presented Pillay with a sick note from what he said was a military hospital, but the judge insisted that there was no medical number showing if and where the doctor was certified.
She said before issuing the arrest warrant;
“I don’t even know if [he] … is a doctor. There is … nothing to suggest that he is.”
Pillay concluded that the note was insufficient to excuse Zuma from appearing for the trial, but gave him until May 6 to turn up before the warrant kicks in.
There are also reports of Zuma being in Cuba as his lawyer revealed that he is abroad for medical treatment.
The charges against the former President of South Africa was initially a decade ago by the National Prosecuting Authority, but it was set aside shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009. Following appeals and lobbying by opposition parties, the NPA reinstated the charges in March 2018