Sat Dec 03 17:38:31 SAST 2016

'Shaun Abrahams won't give me a fair hearing' - Pravin Gordhan

TMG Digital | 2016-10-14 15:13:06.0
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. File photo.
Image by: Siphiwe Sibeko / REUTERS

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan does not have any confidence in the National Director of Public Prosecutions's ability or willingness to afford him a fair hearing.

This is according to his lawyer Tebogo Malatji.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams announced on Tuesday that Gordhan‚ former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula and former deputy commissioner of SARS Ivan Pillay will be charged with fraud.

The charges relate to Pillay’s early retirement from SARS and of entering into a new employment contract with Pillay for a period of four years from April 1 2014 and terminating on December 31 2018. Gordhan is due to appear in court early next month.

Abrahams told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Wednesday that Gordhan is welcome to approach him to make representations regarding the charges that have been preferred against him.

Rejecting this‚ Gordhan's lawyer said in a statement on Friday: "Minister Gordhan has taken legal advice on the matter and decided not to make representations to the NDPP."

"The main reason for his decision is that he does not have any confidence in the NDPP’s ability or willingness to afford him a fair hearing.

"First‚ we repeatedly asked the NPA to afford the Minister an opportunity to make representations to them before they decided whether to prosecute the Minister but they spurned our requests.

"Second‚ the NDPP’s conduct at his press conference announcing the decision to charge the Minister made clear his commitment to the prosecution.

"Third‚ having now had an opportunity to study the charges against the Minister‚ it is also clear to us that they manifest a resolute and not well founded determination to prosecute the Minister at all costs. Any representations to the NDPP would accordingly be pointless."

"Minister Pravin Gordhan continues to take legal counsel in regard to ways and means to bring the matter to an expedited finality."

Malatji said eminent lawyer Advocate Wim Trengove SC as well as advocates Hamilton Maenetje SC and Ziyaad Navsa will be assisting the minister's defence team.


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