/ 17 October 2016

#SarsWars: Magashula, Pillay want NPA’s Abrahams to review decision to prosecute them

New head of the National Prosecuting Authority
New head of the National Prosecuting Authority

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) released a statement on Monday saying former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay, the tax collection agency’s former deputy commissioner, made presentations to national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams, requesting that Abrahams review the decision to prosecute them.  

“Subsequent to the representation of Messrs Magashula and Pillay and in giving effect to the provisions of section 179 (5) of the Constitution and section 22 (2)(c) of the NPA Act, the national director has invited [Finance] Minister Pravin Gordhan through his lawyers, as well as General [Berning] Ntlemeza, the head of the hawks, and Mr Tom Moyane, commissioner of Sars, to make representations before 5pm on October 18 2016 in this regard,” the statement read.

“The national director will consider all these presentations after which he will pronounce his decision in respect of the matter.”

Gordhan said in a statement released on Friday by his lawyers, Gildenhuys Malatji, that he would not make any presentation to Abrahams as he had no confidence in the 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”.

Gordhan will appear in court on November 2 on charges of fraud in relation to Pillay’s retirement. 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 the decision had cost Sars around R1.1-million.