Jacob Zuma, an ex-president of South Africa has been handed 15 months jail sentence after he was found guilty for disobeyed a court order to appear before an inquiry probing allegations of corruption practices during his regime from 2009 to 2018.
With his arrest, it becomes the very first time a former president has been sentenced to prison in the history of South Africa.
Zuma, who was absent for the ruling on Tuesday, June 29, was given a court order to hand himself over within five days to a police station in Johannesburg or anyone located in his hometown of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province.
In January, The ruling of the Constitutional Court in January order 79-year-old Zuma to answer questions from a judicial commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. But the president accused Zondo and the court of partiality, and in November he walked out of one scheduled panel hearing and refused to attend another in February.
In response, the panel filed a contempt charges against him.
“The Constitutional Court can do nothing but conclude that Mr. Zuma is guilty of the crime of contempt of court,” acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe said in a ruling in Johannesburg on Tuesday. “Mr. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is sentenced to undergo 15 months imprisonment.”
According to report, the present government disclosed that more than 500 billion rand ($35 billion) was embezzled from the state during Zuma’s tenure, and 40 witnesses who made appearance in court all associated the ex-president of the embezzlement.
Zuma has however debunked the accusations as he said they are out to tarnish his image.