Manuel: I am no suspect in SARS spy case

Cape Town - Former finance minister Trevor Manuel confirmed on Thursday that he had indeed provided a statement to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) last year, relating to the trial of former SA Revenue Service (SARS) employees accused of spying on the NPA.

Manuel made it clear that he made such a statement, because of a subpoena issued in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

He reacted after his name appeared on a leaked list of state witnesses in the criminal prosecution of Ivan Pillay, Johann van Loggerenberg and Andries Janse van Rensburg.

Pillay and Van Rensburg and Van Loggerenberg briefly appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court earlier this week on charges of the illegal interception of communications and corruption relating to the alleged installation of cameras at the offices of the NPA.

In a statement issued by his attorney George van Niekerk of ENSafrica, Manuel explained that the NPA indicated to him last year that he is a witness in the case and not regarded as a suspect.

"I confirm that, if I am required to testify, I shall comply with my civic duty to do so. I am advised that as a potential state witness I should not comment on the merits of the charges against the accused, and under the circumstances I shall refrain from doing so. I am in any event not privy to the indictment," said Manuel.

"However, the fact that I am listed as one of the witnesses who may be called to testify for the prosecution should not, in the circumstances, be interpreted as an endorsement by me of the charges, or of the process adopted by the State in this matter."

Fin24 reported earlier on Thursday that the Small Business Institute said it will not accept the resignation of its board member Pillay and questions the motives of NPA head Shaun Abrahams.

Pillay is the institute’s director of government liaison, a post that entails cutting down on bureaucracy and red tape and easing access to markets for small businesses.

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