National 24.8.2016 05:28 pm

Pravin Gordhan plans to defy Hawks’ summons

Hawks head Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza. Picture: Gallo

Hawks head Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza. Picture: Gallo

The finance minister has issued a statement saying: ‘I will not be reporting to you as demanded’, but he would be happy to help them ‘in good faith’.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan issued a statement on Wednesday saying he would not be reporting to the Hawks as requested.

In the statement, he said: “I am advised that my conduct was at all times entirely lawful. I will, however, not address matters of law because I have requested my attorneys to do so.”

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He added that the investigative unit he established at the SA Revenue Service (Sars) had always been lawful and had been constituted lawfully.

In his statement, he said: “I firmly believed at all times that the establishment of the unit was an entirely lawful extension of Sars’s long-standing capacity to investigate tax-related crime.”

Listen to audio of Pravin Gordhan addressing the issue below.

He concluded with: “I have nothing further to say in relation to these matters. If the Hawks, however, require any further assistance in good faith, I would be happy to assist.”

The finance was told on Tueday he would be receiving a ‘warning statement’ prior to being charged with an offence. The basis of the case, however, remains obscure.

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Gordhan, former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, group executive Johann van Loggerenberg, spokesperson Adrian Lackay and initial head of the investigative unit Andries van Rensburg had all been “asked to report to the Hawks at 10am on Thursday”.

Gordhan, Pillay, Van Loggerenberg, Lackay and Van Rensburg were sent letters informing them of the charges they would face.

The real basis of the case by the Hawks against Gordhan and his former team was brought into severe question earlier this year. Despite the police being asked to elaborate on why they were after the finance minister, they have consistently declined to offer any concrete reasons.

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