Gordhan charges dropped

Gordhan charges dropped

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams

NPA withdraws criminal charges against Prime Minister Pravin Gordhan and former senior Sars officials Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula.

The Gordhan Sars debacle has finally been laid to rest.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) advocate Shaun Abrahams announced on Monday that Gordhan and former senior Sars officials Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula will no longer face criminal charges.

The NPA said that it has officially withdrawn charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan following representations made by former South African Revenue Service employees and civil society.

The three were scheduled to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on Wednesday over charges relating to the approval of the early retirement of Pillay and his re-hiring as a consultant, costing the tax agency R1.1-million.

But Abrahams conceded on Monday there was no criminal intention by Gordhan to approve the early retirement of Pillay in December 2010.

He said there was no need to charge Gordhan, Magashula and Pillay.

Abrahams said Pillay and Magashula had made representations to indicate there was no intention to commit any crime with the approval of the early pension for Pillay.

Abrahams told the media the decision to prosecute was a daily occurrence, and served as checks and balances in the Constitution.

Since he had assumed the position, he had reviewed numerous cases. “There is a general public misperceptions my his role as the NPA boss. I have always been mindful that everyone is equal before the law,” he said.

The NPA’s case suffered two blows last week, when a Sars senior lawyer was allegedly held hostage by the Hawks, who were demanding documents on the decision to charge Gordhan.

An email on the decision to charge Gordhan was mistakenly sent to Sars’s deputy director for law administration, Vlok Symington.

Symington has lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

Last week the director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, Francis Antonie, filed supplementary affidavits in the high court in Pretoria that there were more than 3 000 civil servants who had received early retirement between 2005 and 2010.

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