I cannot believe I'm being investigated - Gordhan

2016-05-17 20:34
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Photo: Bloomberg)

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Johannesburg - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has maintained his innocence and says he cannot believe he is being investigated and could possibly be charged.

"Throughout my 45 years of activism, I have worked for the advancement of the ANC, our Constitution and our democratic government," Gordhan said in a statement released by the department on Tuesday night.

"I would never have thought that individuals within the very agencies of this government would now conspire to intimidate and harass me and my family."

Gordhan was responding to a report by the Sunday Times which claimed that the Hawks wanted Gordhan and eight others to be charged with espionage, for spying on taxpayers during his time as Sars commissioner.

Sources at both the Hawks and NPA were reportedly waiting for "political go-ahead" before arresting him.

On Tuesday, Gordhan said he learnt of the investigation at the weekend through media reports.

He has since asked his lawyers to approach the Hawks as well as the National Prosecuting Authority for clarity and further information.

On Sunday, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi referred questions regarding the Sunday Times report to the Presidency. The Presidency dismissed the report as the "work of dangerous information peddlers who wish to cause confusion and mayhem in the country".

However, NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed that the Hawks had brought a docket on the so-called "rogue unit" to the prosecuting authority a few weeks ago, but said it was sent back for further investigation.

No decision had been taken on prosecuting anyone, he said.

‘No one is above the law’

Gordhan said he understood that no one was above the law, but argued that no individual should be subjected to the manipulation of the law and agencies for ulterior motives.

He insisted that work done at Sars during his 10 years as a commissioner at SARS had been within the law.

"I worked together with over ten thousand staff for a decade to transform SARS into a world class revenue and customs administration.

"Sars and the specialist investigative units therein operated within the law during my time as the Commissioner," Gordhan said.

Last week Monday, the Daily Maverick reported that members of the Gupta family had returned to South Africa two weeks ago after the big four banks closed the accounts of their businesses.

Ajay Gupta allegedly told people dealing with the family's companies that the Hawks would arrest Gordhan, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, and former SA Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay in connection with the "rogue unit".

Gupta allegedly said that President Jacob Zuma would remove Gordhan as minister, and that Eskom CEO Brian Molefe would be appointed as his replacement, and ANC MP Sfiso Buthelezi as his deputy.

The Daily Maverick reported that Buthelezi was meant to be appointed in March. However, this did not happen after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas publicly confirmed that the Guptas had offered him Nhlanhla Nene's position as finance minister before he was removed in December last year.

On Sunday, the Presidency also denied rumours of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle.

Read more on:    pravin ­gordhan  |  politics

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