Zuma set to be charged over alleged corruption Chris McGreal in Polokwane, South Africa Thursday December 20, 2007 Guardian Unlimited South Africa's director of public prosecutions said today there is sufficient evidence to charge Jacob Zuma, the newly elected leader of the African National Congress, with corruption for allegedly accepting substantial bribes from a French arms company. Mokotedi Mpshe told a Johannesburg radio station that a final decision on when to charge Zuma is "imminent". "The investigation is complete. All that we are doing now is to tie the loose ends," he said. "The investigation, with the evidence we have now, points to a case that can be taken to court." If Zuma is charged it is likely to prove a major obstacle to his ambitions to become South Africa's president at the 2009 general election and extend his bitter power struggle with the country's president, Thabo Mbeki. Last week, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported that prosecutors have submitted an affidavit to the constitutional court alleging that Zuma took illegal payments totalling 4m rand (£285,000) over 10 years. The timing of Mpshe's comments, coming hours before Zuma is expected to make his first speech to the ANC's national conference as party leader, has compounded suspicions in his camp of a conspiracy by Mbeki's office to block Zuma from becoming president. Zuma humiliated Mbeki in this week's ANC leadership election, defeating him with more than 60% of the vote and sweeping the president's allies out of all the top party posts. Zuma has said he will not resign unless he is convicted. His supporters have threatened to try and force an early election. Some of Zuma's critics have accused him of seeking the presidency in order to forestall a prosecution. But as president he would not have immunity and there will be many in the ANC who will recoil at the prospect of a man facing a corruption trial leading the country. Mbeki sacked Zuma as South Africa's deputy president two years ago when he was first charged with corruption. Those charges were dropped last year but Zuma's financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was convicted for facilitating bribes to him on behalf of a French company, Thint, and sent to prison for 15 years. The prosecution argued that the two had a "generally corrupt" relationship and Zuma remained under investigation. Last month, the court of appeal opened the way for Zuma to be charged again when it ruled that the seizure by police of incriminating documents from his home and office was legal. The court also said investigators could have access to papers about a meeting between Zuma and Thint at which it is alleged payment of a substantial bribe was discussed. On Wednesday, the ANC's national conference decided to disband the elite unit that has been investigating Zuma, known as the Scorpions It is not clear what impact that would have on the cases against Zuma or South Africa's police chief, Jackie Selebi, who was charged with corruption and over ties to organised crime. The indictment was dropped after Mbeki intervened by the DPP has been putting together new charges. Zuma was tried separately for rape last year, but was acquitted.