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Gordhan not under investigation

Economy

Johannesburg - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan does not appear to be under investigation, or facing a charge, by the Hawks.

This is according to a Reuters report, which quotes South Africa's Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko as saying on Wednesday that questions put to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan by an elite police unit do not mean Gordhan is under investigation for a crime or will be charged.

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Pravin Gordhan, South Africa's finance minister, attends a panel session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 20 - 23. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Pravin Gordhan

This comes after the Hawks sent Gordhan two letters, February 19 and March 1, requesting information from him, which appears to do with a probe into a rogue South African Revenue Service unit.

The minister of police was set to, on Wednesday afternoon, provide an update on investigations on SARS’s so-called rogue unit.

In a letter sent to the Hawks today and in IOL’s possession, Gordhan’s lawyers point out that the information requested was sought at a time when Gordhan was preparing for the Budget.

Also read: SARS tussle heightens economic risks

“You are aware of the national importance of the Budget Speech, and that he was not able to permit any distractions to jeopardise the Budget processes.”

The letter says Gordhan will respond in due course, but also asks on what authority the Hawks rely when asking Gordhan for information, and whether the unit is investigating any offence.

Gordhan was the commissioner at SARS at the time when the covert unit was allegedly established, which is why the Hawks wish to ask him questions.

The investigation pitted SARS commissioner Tom Moyane against Gordhan.

The probe into the alleged rogue unit followed a KPMG report, commissioned by Moyane, that showed there was such a unit within Sars. The unit, reportedly established in 2007, allegedly used covert methods and illegal spying to gather information, according to the report.

It reportedly established a brothel in Durban as a cover for officials working from home, spied on people, including taxi hitmen, druglords, cigarette and abalone smugglers, SARS officials and politicians. Some SARS officials reportedly infiltrated the ANC as bodyguards.

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