From: Reuters
Published December 21, 2007 06:39 AM

Zuma says no word from prosecutors on graft

By Michael Georgy

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Ruling ANC leader Jacob Zuma said on Friday he had not been contacted by South African prosecutors over possible corruption charges.

On Thursday, Mokotedi Mpshe, acting director of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), said an investigation into the charges was complete and that evidence pointed to a case being taken to court.

"I have not been contacted, my advisers have not been contacted but the media have been contacted," Zuma said in an interview on SABC radio.

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Zuma ousted President Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader on Tuesday.

Because of the ANC's electoral dominance, he is expected to become president when Mbeki leaves office in 2009. A graft conviction would force him to stand down.

Uncertainty over the charges is one of several issues causing concern among investors after Zuma's election.

Zuma's supporters say he is the victim of a plot by Mbeki, who is using state institutions to purge opponents.

Mbeki fired Zuma in 2005 after he was charged with bribery and fraud over a multi-million-dollar arms procurement.

In that case, Zuma's former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted of trying to solicit a 500,000 rand ($72,500) a year bribe for Zuma from a French arms company and jailed for 15 years in the case. The case collapsed on a technicality.

Days before Zuma became ANC leader, an elite crime unit called the Scorpions filed papers in the Constitutional Court containing what they said was new evidence against him.

Zuma denies any wrongdoing. He said he did not understand why allegations were being raised in the media and not in a court.

"Their (the NPA) trend is towards the media and that is a worry. Ever since they have been dealing with my matter they dealt with it as if it is a public relations issue," he said.

"If there is any action to be taken we will cross that bridge when we get there."

(Reporting by Michael Georgy; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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