NPA boss Shaun Abrahams withdraws summons against Pravin Gordhan
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has withdrawn the summons against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and former South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay.
NPA head Shaun Abrahams said in a letter to Gordhan’s attorney on Monday that after “perusal” of the matter he had decided to “overrule the decision” to prosecute the minister.
Abrahams said in the letter he had directed that the summons against Gordhan be withdrawn with “immediate effect”.
Gordhan was set to face two charges of fraud this week linked to his rubber-stamping of early retirement for Pillay, a former deputy SARS deputy commissioner, and then reappointing him on contract in 2010, during the minister’s first stint as the head of the Treasury.
Abrahams has come under intense pressure since he announced during a media briefing two weeks ago that Gordhan had been summonsed to appear in court on November 2 on two charges of fraud.
This was exacerbated when it emerged in media reports that Abrahams had met President Jacob Zuma at ANC headquarters Luthuli House a day before he announced that Gordhan had been summonsed.
The meeting fuelled speculation that the case against Gordhan was politically motivated despite Abrahams and the Presidency saying their meeting was held to discuss the ongoing crisis over tertiary education funding.
On Sunday a source close to Gordhan predicted that the charges could be withdrawn as soon as Monday in order to avert a protest march planned to coincide with his court appearance, in which ANC members, leaders and stalwarts were set to participate.
The campaign, which has been billed as a “people’s assembly against state capture”, was also to include participation of about 80 of the country’s CEOs as well as a number of attorneys and legal professionals.
On Sunday, organisers of the Save SA campaign said they would proceed with the march and the campaign against state capture even if the charges were withdrawn.
“It will be a rally marking victory in this battle and consolidating the campaign against state capture, to stop the looting and corruption and restore the integrity of the state,” the campaign organisers said in a statement.
The letter from Abrahams:
- TMG Digital/BusinessLive