World briefs :Zuma to repay part of $32m spent on home

Zuma to repay part of $32m spent on home

LONDON • South African President Jacob Zuma has agreed to repay the government part of the US$23 million (S$32 million) in public funds that were spent on lavish improvements to his home, in an attempt to defuse a controversy that has dogged his administration and his governing party, the African National Congress.

The improvements to Mr Zuma's spacious homestead, just south of the town of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province, were made shortly after he took office in 2009. He did not specify how much he would repay.

Public protector Thulisile Madonsela concluded in 2014 that Mr Zuma had misappropriated government funds, failed to stop his architect and other contractors from piling on costs, and "benefited unduly" from the renovations, in a manner "inconsistent with his office".


Ruling on Assange's embassy stay today

LONDON • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's 31/2-year stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London amounts to "unlawful detention", a United Nations panel examining his appeal will rule today, the BBC reported.

Mr Assange claimed asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex assault claims, which he denies, calling it a witch-hunt directed by the United States after Wikileaks published classified US military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

London police say Mr Assange will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2016, with the headline 'WorldBriefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe