The Hawks’ investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan appears to have run aground, with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) saying the case would never succeed in a court, while the Hawks have insisted it should go ahead, according to sources.
Highly placed sources within the Hawks and within the NPA said the Hawks have now asked Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to intervene.
The sources allege they wanted him to speak to Justice Minister Michael Masutha to talk to NPA head Shaun Abrahams to go ahead with the charges.
Abrahams told the Hawks investigators to find more evidence of wrongdoing before he could charge Gordhan and others implicated in the SA Revenue Service (Sars) investigation.
There have been differences of opinions at meetings between the Hawks and the NPA over the past three weeks.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said the decision on whether or not to prosecute any person(s) in respect of the matter would be taken by the head of priority crimes litigation unit Torie Pretorius in consultation with advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi.
“The national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) has never been pressurised by any person to prosecute anyone,” he said.
While there’s uncertainty about the charges, a summary of the case has emerged showing the Hawks were initially not sure of what charges to refer against Gordhan and the other former Sars employees.
On August 17, five days before the Hawks wrote to Gordhan asking him to give them a warning statement since he was being investigated on three serious infringements, it now appears the investigating team had only managed to formulate a single case.
It was on these charges that Gordhan refused to provide the Hawks with a warning statement.
An earlier comment from the NPA’s Mfaku was that the docket was now with Abrahams, who will make a decision if any of the former Sars employees involved or Gordhan are to be prosecuted.
In the note from Xaba, which summarises the entire investigation, no single reference is made to the allegations that have previously been made against the unit, including that it had run a brothel, presided over a secret fund of R546 million, had bought new vehicles and houses and had “broken into” into President Jacob Zuma’s Forest Town home.
The note also contradicts a Sars statement a week ago that Tom Moyane, the commissioner of Sars, had played no role in instructing the Hawks to investigate Gordhan and his role in the unit. According to this statement Moyane was recommended opening a criminal case last year after two officials admitted to illegal spying.
But according to the note, it was the Sikhakhane report, which was produced after a previous investigation into allegations about the unit, that compelled Moyane to lay the charges against all involved.
Sars has also denied the criminal investigation is related to the Hawks investigation, while Xaba’s note states the opposite.