Hawks hover over Gordhan again

He is alleged to have been part of a project that bugged NPA offices

31 August 2017 - 06:01
By Natasha Marrian
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. File photo.
Image: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. File photo.

There are moves towards charging former finance minister Pravin Gordhan over the alleged bugging of National Prosecuting Authority offices in 2007, a project dubbed "Sunday Evenings".

While the Hawks would not confirm the status of their investigation on Wednesday, The Times' sister publication, Business Day, understands that both former finance minister Trevor Manuel and his deputy Jabu Moleketi have been subpoenaed on the matter.

Manuel was out of the country, but confirmed via SMS that he had been subpoenaed. Moleketi could not be reached for comment.

It is also understood from senior sources that the investigation is at an advanced stage with two SA Revenue Service officials having turned state witnesses.

The developments emerged on Wednesday at a time when there was an apparent renewed attack on Gordhan who has been outspoken against the controversial Gupta family and state capture.

The Treasury under Gordhan and former director-general Lungisa Fuzile has come under fire over a botched information technology project, the Integrated Financial Management System, intended to modernise systems such as public service pay information. The first phase of the project has cost the Treasury about R1.2-billion with little to show for it, parliament heard on Tuesday.

Gordhan declined to comment on potential charges linked to Project Sunday Evenings. But, of the Integrated Financial Management System, he said it was "managed by officials and ministers never got into details".

Gordhan said the allegations implicating him in the Integrated Financial Management System project were part of a "well-orchestrated campaign by the Gupta syndicate to launch attacks through the abuse of state institutions on those opposed to corruption and working for the renewal of the ANC".

"This is also a very transparent attempt to shift the focus from the plentiful evidence existing in the public protector's state capture report and the leaked e-mails of plain stealing of public resources for which this clique must still account some day soon," he said.

But Gupta family spokesman Gary Naidoo said the family has nothing to do with the allegations against the Treasury.

Project Sunday Evenings emerged strongly in the KPMG report commissioned by SARS into the alleged rogue unit at the tax agency, involving the bugging of the NPA offices.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Malaudzi denied on Wednesday there were any new developments in the investigation against Gordhan. "There are no new charges that I know of," he said.

- BusinessLIVE