Gordhan charges not convincing - Casac

2016-10-11 20:35
Shaun Abrahams (File, News24)

Shaun Abrahams (File, News24)

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Johannesburg - The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) on Tuesday questioned whether Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s early pension payout to his then deputy at SARS, Ivan Pillay, was a crime.

Gordhan has been charged with fraud relating to the R1.1m payout to Pillay, after he asked for early retirement in 2010. Gordhan was finance minister at the time. Pillay was later rehired as a consultant.

On Tuesday, National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams announced that he was prosecuting Gordhan on two charges: for fraud and for extending Pillay’s contract. Pillay and former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula would also face charges.

Casac executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said the arguments Abrahams had advanced did not convince him that a crime had been committed.

"Let's assume for a moment there were transgressions; do they constitute a criminal offence? Or is it a mere breach of the Public Finance Management Act in cases of golden handshakes?" Naidoo said.

He said it was peculiar that Abrahams spoke at length about the alleged SARS rogue unit during his briefing, but that Gordhan’s charges were not related to this.

"Was he preparing the ground for something else later on? The briefing should have focused on charges he articulated which relate specifically to Mr Pillay's payout and the re-employment as a consultant."

Abrahams said during the briefing that SARS did not have the legal framework to set up an intelligence unit and that only the police and the defence department had this authority.

Earlier, a high profile source close to the matter told News24 that the fact that Abrahams had spoken at length about the unit showed the Hawks and the NPA were looking at the allegations.

"Make no mistake, the 'rogue unit' case will come."

The source said there was a sense of urgency to charge Gordhan because of pressure on current SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, because of the upcoming Public Protector report on state capture, and Treasury blocking questionable deals.


Read more on:    npa  |  sars  |  shaun abrahams  |  pravin gordhan

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