Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial for a $2 billion government arms deal has been postponed to October 26, the presiding judge said on Wednesday.
Judge Piet Koen said he will try to have the lead prosecutor on Zuma’s plea Billy Downer removed from a case he has been involved in for almost two decades because of perceptions that Downer was biased and not impartial.
“I will try and hopefully have the judgment ready by then,” Koen said before adjourning the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Due to legal arguments and Zuma’s unavailability, the trial over a 1990s deal that was meant to start in May has been postponed a number of times.
Suffering from an undisclosed illness, Zuma, 79 was absent from proceedings at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Prosecutors have argued ill health did not justify his absence.
The former president is jointly accused with French arms firm Thales and is facing 18 charges, including corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion racketeering linked to the arms deal in the late 1990s.
Zuma has denied the charges and regards the criminal trial against him as politically motivated.