South Africa’s top court has ruled that the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Shaun Abrahams, was not validly appointed and was a beneficiary of former President Jacob Zuma’s abuse of power.
Mr Abrahams was appointed in 2015 after his predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana was given 17.3m rand ($1.1m; £862,000) as a “golden handshake” by Mr Zuma’s government.
Judge Mbuyiseli Russel Madlanga questioned why Jacob Zuma had failed to pursue an inquiry into Mxolisi Nxasana, but instead abandoned it to pay him to leave his post. https://t.co/b8drbTi5sO
— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) August 13, 2018
However, Mr Nxasana later went to court claiming he had been forced out of his position because Mr Zuma was convinced that he intended to prosecute him for corruption.
Judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga, reading a majority opinion, ruled that Mr Zuma had unlawfully retired Mr Nxasana, and therefore his subsequent appointment of Mr Abrahams was invalid.
The court rejected Mr Nxasana’s appeal to get his former job back and ordered him to return the $1.1m “golden handshake” to the government.
Mr Abrahams, was seen by Mr Zuma’s critics as his lackey, and was nicknamed Shaun the sheep.
The court gave President Cyril Ramaphosa, who forced Mr Zuma out of office in February, 90 days to appoint a new NPA head.
When he become president, Mr Ramaphosa had said that “leadership issues” at the NPA was one of his key concerns.
Non-governmental organisations, Corruption Watch and Freedom Under Law took the matter on the removal of Nxasana to the High Court, which ruled in their favor.
‘‘The removal of Mr Nxasana and appointment of Adv Abrahams are constitutionally invalid. Subsections 12(4) and 12(6) of the NPA Act are declared unconstitutional. (Corruption Watch v President of RSA)’‘
Judgment: The removal of Mr Nxasana and appointment of Adv Abrahams are constitutionally invalid. Subsections 12(4) and 12(6) of the NPA Act are declared unconstitutional. (Corruption Watch v President of RSA) pic.twitter.com/2dAnUJugkD
— Constitutional Court (@ConCourtSA) August 13, 2018