National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams and former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan have been involved in a long lasting battle. Both men have been launching attacks and counter attacks on each other.
Abrahams is best known perhaps for announcing late last year that Gordhan would face fraud charges related to the early retirement and re-employment of former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
The charges were widely viewed as politically motivated and were later dropped.
Abrahams revealed that prosecution of financial crimes had suffered because successive finance ministers never set up FICA council.
On Thursday, the NPA boss accused former finance minister Pravin Gordhan of hampering the fight against illicit money flows and money-laundering by failing to establish a special advisory council provided for in the previous version of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA).
At a media briefing by Justice Minister Michael Masutha, ahead of his department’s budget vote, both the minister and Abrahams said prosecution of financial crimes had suffered because successive finance ministers never set up the council.
Masutha said the body was critical to ensure that illicit financial dealings were not merely identified, but actually referred to law enforcement bodies for investigation.
Abrahams that the challenges that we face today as a country in our ability to combat money-laundering, illicit financial flows and terror financing is a as direct result and I say this respectfully of various finance ministers failing to constitute or have constituted the Counter Money-Laundering Advisory Council.
Abrahams said Gordhan was responsible for the fact that an attempt to hold the inaugural meeting of the council in January had failed because he did not abide by the regulations governing it.
Asked about his remarks after the briefing, he said “I’m not taking a pot shot at anybody”, but reiterated that Gordhan had failed to follow proper procedure and that without the council, there was no way of holding the FIC accountable.