Public Protector subpoenas Gordhan over 'rogue unit' | Fin24
 
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Public Protector subpoenas Gordhan over 'rogue unit'

Apr 11 2019 19:03
Marelise van der Merwe and Carin Smith

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has been subpoenaed by the Public Protector to submit an affidavit related to the so-called SARS 'rogue unit', the minister's spokesperson confirmed on Thursday evening.

Speaking to Fin24 by phone, Adrian Lackay said he could confirm the subpoena had been served on Gordhan in relation to an investigative unit at the South African Revenue Service, calling it an "abuse of office" and an example of a "fight back campaign".

The deadline to submit is April 23.

"The same set of allegations have been investigated repeatedly by various institutions – including the office of the Public Protector in 2014 – and no conclusive evidence could be found of any illegality by SARS or Minister Gordhan," said Lackay.

"The latest subpoena was leaked to the media whilst we were in the process of consulting counsel to determine the most appropriate legal response to what clearly amounts to persistent harassment of Minister Gordhan and a flagrant abuse of office."

'Fight back campaign'

According to Lackay, this is also "another example of a fight back campaign to disrupt efforts to uncover and prosecute instances of malfeasance and corruption in various entities of government".

"We must once again call on the South African public to connect a new set of dots and get an appreciation for the determined efforts to distract public attention from the broad attempts to ensure clean governance in our country," he said.

'Too little time'

Gordhan's attorney, Tebogo Malatji, told Fin24 that the deadline was too soon. "We don't think we have enough time to respond," he said.

Additionally, he echoed Lackay's views that it was "a matter that has been extensively considered", citing the 2014 submission to then-Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and a 2016 investigation by the Hawks, as well as references to the unit in the December 2018 report by retired judge Robert Nugent, which found that it was not unlawful.

"So to our mind we shouldn't be facing this process yet again," he said.

More to follow

pravin gordhan  |  rogue unit  |  sars
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