Cape Town - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, through his lawyers, confirmed in writing to the National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams on Tuesday that he would not be making representations asking for a review of the fraud case against him.
“Our client does not intend to make representations to you for the considerations previously articulated,” Gildenhuys Malatji Attorneys said in the letter to Abrahams.
Last week, Abrahams told Parliament that Gordhan and his two co-accused, former SA Revenue Service (Sars) employees Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay, were free to make representations to him to review the case related to the early retirement and benefits paid to Pillay in 2010.
Gordhan's lawyers indicated then they would not be making representations as they did not have any confidence in Abrahams' “ability or willingness to afford him a fair hearing”.
On Monday, Abrahams wrote to Gordhan's attorneys indicating that both Magashula and Pillay had made representations for a review, giving the minister a deadline of 5pm on Tuesday to do the same.
However, the minister continued to refuse the offer.
In Tuesday's letter, Gordhan's lawyers again asked Abrahams to withdraw the charges.
“We have seen the letter by Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation dated 14 October 2016 in which we were copied. We invite you to withdraw the charges against our client in the light of the grounds set out therein.”
NGOs Freedom Under Law (FUL) and the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) last week threatened the NPA with legal action should they go ahead with the case against Gordhan, which is set down for November 2 in the Pretoria Regional Court.
In a letter to Abrahams, the organisations say the decision to charge Gordhan was flawed.
“It is plain from the legislation that the retirement of Mr Pillay did not require the Minister’s approval at all: SARS and the government would be liable to pay any early retirement penalty. But to the extent that the minister gave his approval, it was clearly in line not only with a raft of legislation but also ample precedent,” the organisations said as it explained why Gordhan did nothing illegal.
FUL and HSF gave the NPA until the close of business on Friday, October 21 to drop the charges against Gordhan, failing which the organisations were demanding the record of decision with supporting documentation to issue the minister with the summons by the same date.