Former South African President Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15 months in prison by the country’s Constitutional Court.
Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court in Tuesday’s ruling.
According to CNBC News, Zuma defied the court’s order to appear at a corruption inquiry when he was still in power between 2009 and 2018.
“The constitutional court can do nothing but conclude that Mr Zuma is guilty of the crime of contempt of court,” said Judge Sisi Khampepe.
“This kind of recalcitrance and defiance is unlawful and will be punished. I am left with no option but to commit Mr Zuma to imprisonment, with the hope that doing so sends an unequivocal message … the rule of law and the administration of justice prevails.
“The majority judgment orders an unsuspended sentence of imprisonment for a period [of 15 months],” She added.
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The inquiry, led by South Africa is Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is examining high-level corruption during Zuma’s time in office.
Zuma, 79, was not present to hear the court give its verdict and the judge ordered him to hand himself in within five days.
Zuma was South Africa’s president for nine years but was ousted in 2018 following internal discord among the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
This was against a backdrop of public outrage over alleged corruption and mismanagement of state resources.
Zuma is separately facing 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering relating to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military gear from five European arms firms for Ksh.255.3 billion (30bn rand). At the time of the purchase, Zuma was deputy to the then President Thabo Mbeki.
At a court hearing in May, Zuma entered a plea of not guilty and told the court the prosecution was politically motivated, accusing government lawyers of working “not to find the truth but to bolster a narrative of a corrupt political leader.”