( Gulfnews ) Johannesburg: Schabir Shaik , former financial adviser to controversial South African politician Jacob Zuma , yesterday lost his final appeal against fraud and corruption charges and a 15-year prison sentence.
The Constitutional Court said it would not be in the interests of justice to grant an appeal, a decision that analysts say could clear the way for presidential hopeful Zuma to be recharged in connection with the case.
"It does show we were always on the right track in our view of corruption," said state prosecutor Billy Downer.
The moves could affect the leadership race for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which will be decided at a party conference in December.
Zuma , the ANC deputy president, and South African President Thabo Mbeki are expected to be the main contenders.
Mbeki fired Zuma from his job as deputy national president in 2005 after he was implicated in the case and a judge reportedly said he had a "generally corrupt" relationship with Shaik . The judged later denied saying this.
Mbeki is constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term as South Africa's president but he has hinted he will try to hold on to the party's reins and thereby continue to wield considerable power over its future.
In 2005, Shaik was found guilty of trying to solicit a 500,000 rand (Dh267,806)-a-year bribe for Zuma from French arms company Thint in return for protecting it from an investigation into a massive arms deal in the late 1990s. Another graft count said Shaik had paid Zuma 1.3 million rand in bribes to induce him to use his political influence to further Shaik's business interests.
Zuma , who enjoys the backing of powerful trade unions and the ANC rank and file, has said the accusations were part of a broader smear campaign.
Shaik , a member of a wealthy and influential Indian family in Durban with strong ties to the ANC, forged a long-time friendship with Zuma during the anti-apartheid struggle.