South Africa’s former president Jacob Zumawants corruption charges relating to a $2.2 billion arms deal to be permanently set aside, his lawyers said on Friday, when Zuma made his fourth court appearance since the charges were reinstated.

Zuma, who was ousted by the ruling party in February, faces 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy R30 billion of European military hardware for South Africa’s armed forces in the late 1990s.

The case is a rare example of an African leader being held to account for his actions. Zuma denies wrongdoing.

On Friday, judge Mjabuliseni Madondo adjourned the case to 20 May, giving lawyers time to prepare for a debate on whether there should be a “permanent stay of prosecution”.

Zuma’s lawyer Mike Hellens said on Friday that state prosecutors had displayed a dismissive attitude towards Zuma.