No political interference in Sars 'rogue unit' probe - Abrahams

2016-05-23 16:36
Shaun Abrahams. (File, News24)

Shaun Abrahams. (File, News24)

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Pretoria - There was no political interference during an investigation into the SA Revenue Service's so-called "rogue unit", the National Prosecuting Authority said on Monday.

"There is no evidence... that has been brought to my attention, or the attention of National Prosecuting Authority, that the investigation of the Sars rogue unit is politically motivated," National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams told reporters in Pretoria.

"The NPA is not involved in the removal from office of individuals at other institutions."

Abrahams was referring to Finance Minister Pravin Gordan.

He denied reports that Gordhan could find himself arrested on charges of espionage.

"There are no charges of espionage being investigated against Minister Gordhan. There are no espionage charges being investigated against anyone," he said.

The final decision on whether anyone would be prosecuted lay with Abrahams.

Public interest

The Sunday Times reported that the Hawks wanted Gordhan and eight others charged for alleged illicit intelligence gathering and spying on taxpayers during his time as Sars commissioner between 1999 and 2009. A so-called "rogue unit" within Sars was allegedly responsible for this.

The Hawks and NPA were reportedly waiting for "political go-ahead" before arresting him, the paper reported.

At the time NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said the Hawks had brought a docket on the "rogue unit" to the prosecuting authority a few weeks ago, and that it was sent back for further investigation.

He said no decision had been taken on prosecuting anyone.

Abrahams on Monday said it was not in anyone's interest that this matter be investigated in the public domain, adding that he would take the public's interest, and not its wishes, into account if and when he made the decision to prosecute anyone.

'NPA is not filthy and corrupt'

"I call on all concerned... to stop playing with our economy. Stop deriving political mileage out of this matter or any other matter.

"The NPA decides who should or should not be prosecuted. Unfortunately there are too many today who try to usurp the NPA's position," Abrahams said.

He said comments by "certain" media, politicians and analysts on these reports did not help.

Neither Abrahams nor the NPA required the political go-ahead to decide whether to prosecute or not, he added.

"The NPA is not involved nor is it driving any prosecution in this matter... the NPA is not filthy and corrupt as some politicians would want you to believe," he said.

"The NPA is not involved in any unrestrained attack on any person."

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

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