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Charges dropped as election approaches

SOUTH Africa's top prosecutor is dropping corruption charges against Jacob Zuma, the man likely to become the country's president after this month's national elections.

Mokotedi Mpshe said yesterday that the process had been manipulated for political reasons and that it was "neither possible nor desirable" to continue prosecuting Zuma, who leads South Africa's governing party.

Mpshe said the prosecutor in charge of the case had colluded with a former head of prosecutions to time the case's announcement in a way they hoped would undermine Zuma's campaign to be elected head of the African National Congress.

After the decision was announced, hundreds of people celebrated in the streets of downtown Johannesburg.

Zuma, 66, was accused of accepting bribes to thwart an investigation into wrongdoing by a French arms company. He has faced the possibility of trial since 2003, when prosecutors first said there was enough evidence to proceed.


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