Jacob Zuma in the dock in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA
Jacob Zuma in the dock in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA

Zuma takes on NPA’s Billy Downer, opens criminal case against him over leaked medical records

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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Durban – A week before he returns to court for his arms deal corruption-related case, former president Jacob Zuma has announced that he will open a criminal case against NPA advocate Billy Downer SC.

Zuma, who is currently out on medical parole for his contempt of court sentence, accuses the top NPA prosecutor of allegedly leaking his confidential medical records to some media houses.

The records were given to the NPA last month when Zuma and his legal team argued that he was too ill to be physically present in court. To bolster his case, he sent a medical note from the military health services and minutes after it was sent to Downer, Zuma alleged that it was leaked to a journalist who later asked his legal team questions and they were based on the note.

The former head of state argues that the leaking of the medical records has compromised him as the information was later widely circulated on traditional and social media.

In a statement issued by the Jacob Zuma Foundation on Wednesday, Zuma said he will open the case at the Pietermaritzburg police on Thursday.

“As indicated in court on 22/09/21, H.E Prez Zuma will be laying criminal charges against Adv Billy Downer SC for his admitted conduct which is in breach of sections 41(6) read with 41(7) of the NPA Act. The media is invited to a briefing outside SAPS in PMB on 21/10/21 at 13h00,” the foundation said in a statement.

Zuma’s gripe with the alleged leaking of the medical records and his other claims of impropriety against Downer, whom he wants removed as the prosecutor of his arms deal corruption case, is being used to argue that Downer has a political agenda against him.

His lead lawyers, advocate Dali Mpofu SC and Thabani Masuku SC, argued that Downer’s alleged conduct was a continuation of a pattern of leaking information to the media and other third parties.

They alleged that prior to Downer leaking the medical records to the media, even though he was cautioned to keep them confidential, Downer leaked information about Zuma’s corruption trial to certain media houses and CIA spies.

The judgment on the application to have Downer removed will be delivered on Tuesday after Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Piet Koen reserved judgment in September, saying he needed time to prepare a detailed judgment.

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Political Bureau

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