Gordhan says he has no confidence in Abrahams's ability to afford him a fair trial
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan released a statement on Friday through his lawyers, Gildenhuys Malatji, in which he says he will not make any presentations to national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams following a consultation with his legal team.
— Mail & Guardian (@mailandguardian) October 14, 2016
The reason for this, the statement says, is because Gordhan has no confidence in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head’s “ability or willingness to afford him a fair trial”.
Gildenhuys Malatji said they asked the NPA for Gordhan to be given an opportunity to make a presentation before it decided on whether or not he would be prosecuted, but their request was rejected and that Abrahams’s conduct at the press conference where he announced Gordhan would be charged with fraud “made clear his commitment to the prosecution”.
“Third, having now had an opportunity to study the charges against the minister, it is also to clear to us that they manifest a resolute and not well founded determination to prosecute the minister at all costs,” Gildenhuys Malatji said.
“Any presentations to the NDPP would accordingly be pointless.”
Gordhan will appear in court on November 2 on charges of fraud in relation to former South African Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement.
Former Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula and former deputy Sars commissioner Ivan also received summonses.
In 2010, Pillay retired early from Sars and received full benefits. His early retirement with full benefits was approved by Gordhan, who was commissioner of Sars and authorised by Magashula. Abrahams said that the decision had cost Sars around R1.1-million.
In August 2016, however, Gordhan responded to a question by the Hawks on the matter, saying everything had been above board in Pillay’s retirement. The charge on the second count of fraud is in relation to contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).