- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

Key events leading to Monday’s announcement that prosecutors were dropping corruption charges against Jacob Zuma, the man in line to become South Africa’s next president.

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_Aug. 23, 2003: Prosecutors say they have a case against Jacob Zuma, but not one they are sure they can win, and so will not prosecute. Zuma was accused of taking a 500,000-rand bribe to protect a French arms company from a government probe into corruption. The corruption investigation centered around a 1999 deal for South Africa to buy ships, submarines, helicopters, jets and other weaponry from European and South African firms.

_June 2, 2005: Schabir Shaik, a friend and financial adviser to Zuma with close ties to the African National Congress, is found guilty of two counts of corruption and one of fraud. The judge says there is “overwhelming” evidence of a corrupt relationship between Shaik and Zuma. Prosecutors say they will review their decision not to prosecute.

_June 14, 2005: South African President Thabo Mbeki dismisses Zuma as the nation’s deputy president. Zuma remains an ANC deputy.

_June 20, 2005: Zuma, denying any wrongdoing, says prosecutors have informed him he will face criminal charges in the bribery scandal.

_May 8, 2006: Zuma acquitted of raping an HIV-positive family friend. Zuma had testified the sex was consensual, but also raised questions about his judgment by saying on the stand that the way the woman dressed indicated she wanted sex and that he believed showering after the encounter protected him from AIDS.

_Sept. 20, 2006: Judge dismisses the corruption indictment against Zuma after prosecutors say they are not ready to proceed. Prosecutors say they may renew the case.

_Dec. 18, 2007: ANC elects Zuma over Mbeki as party president, putting Zuma in line to run for the presidency. Two days later, the nation’s top prosecutor says he has enough evidence to take Zuma back to court in the corruption case.

_Sept. 12, 2008: Judge says Zuma’s prosecution is invalid because prosecutors failed to consult Zuma before refiling the charges, and voices support for Zuma’s contention he was being pursued for political reasons.

_Sept. 17, 2008: South African prosecutors say they will appeal the dismissal of the Zuma case, outraging the ANC and its allies on the left and among young South Africans. Calls mount for Mbeki to step down.

_Sept. 19, 2008: Mbeki reluctantly agrees to an order from the ANC National Executive Committee to stand down as head of state.

_Jan. 12, 2009: South Africa’s second-highest court clears the way for a new corruption trial for Zuma, overturning a lower court’s decision to throw out the case.

_March 3, 2009 _ Shaik granted parole on medical grounds.

_April 6, 2009: National Prosecuting Authority announces it is dropping corruption charges against Zuma, saying the case had been manipulated for political reasons.

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