Court papers reveal heated exchange between Abrahams, Ntlemeza

2016-11-15 18:39
Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza (Netwerk24)

Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza accused NDPP Shaun Abrahams of not acting in good faith by withdrawing the fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, according to emails the two exchanged.

"It is our considered view that your decision is not made in good faith on evidence that we gathered as an investigative agency in this matter," Ntlemeza wrote in an e-mail to Abrahams days before the case was dropped.

The exchange between the two was attached to answering affidavits filed as part of a court application by the Helen Suzman Foundation to have Abrahams suspended, NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said on Tuesday. 

A disgruntled Ntlemeza accused Abrahams of withdrawing fraud charges against Gordhan and two former Sars colleagues based on “noise” from the media, politicians, and civil society groups sympathetic to Gordhan.

"These groups have falsely accused the Hawks and the NPA in the public domain of pursuing the case against the accused persons for political purposes on instruction of political masters, which is utter nonsense."

He accused Abrahams of being deceptive and said this would bring law enforcement agencies into disrepute. Ntlemeza expressed concern about Abrahams’ “overtures” of offers to Gordhan and his co- accused to make representations. 

"It is our considered view that we have a strong case against the accused. It would be improper for you as the NDPP to stall or withdraw prosecution," Ntlemeza wrote.

Abrahams replied that he found Ntlemeza's letter disconcerting and contrary to section 41 of the Constitution. 

Abrahams offended

Abrahams took offence at Ntlemeza's accusations that he did not act in good faith. 

"Your view adopted is rather regrettable," he wrote.

"Your legal and constitutional mandate does not permit you to advise me when to withdraw matters or when to proceed with prosecution. I insist you refrain from any other communication or conduct to this effect, failing which we will have serious consequences."

On October 11, Abrahams announced that Gordhan, former deputy Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay and former Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula, would be summonsed to appear in court on a charge of fraud relating to Pillay’s early retirement and the extension of his contract.

He announced on October 31 that the charges had been withdrawn.

President Jacob Zuma wrote to Abrahams, asking him to provide written reasons why he should not be suspended and face an inquiry into his fitness to hold office, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

He made the same request to the director of public prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi and acting special director of public prosecutions Torie Pretorius.

Read more on:    npa  |  hawks  |  berning ntlemeza  |  shaun abrahams  |  pravin gordhan

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