Former finance Minister Trevor Manuel File picture: Werner Beukes/ANA

Johannesburg - Former finance minister Trevor Manuel on Thursday, said he was a witness and not a suspect in the case against three former senior South African Revenue Services (Sars) officials facing charges of corruption and contravention of the Rica Act.

“I confirm that I had indeed provided the prosecution with a statement last year, under compunction of a subpoena issued in terms of section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The prosecutor indicated at the time that I am a witness, and that I am not regarded as a suspect," Manuel said in a statement released by African lawfirm ENSafrica.

"I confirm that if I am required to testify, I shall comply with my civic duty to do so. I am advised that as a potential State witness I should not comment on the merits of the charges against the accused, and in the circumstances I shall refrain from doing so. I am in any event not privy to the indictment. However, the fact that I am listed as one of the witnesses who may be called to testify for the prosecution should not, in the circumstances, be interpreted as an endorsement by me of the charges, or of the process adopted by the State in this matter.”

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The statement was issued by ENSafrica director of dispute resolution George van Niekerk.

On April 9, three former senior Sars officials briefly appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. Ivan Pillay‚ Johann van Loggerenberg and Andries Janse van Rensburg are accused of bugging the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) offices in 2007.

The matter was postponed to June 18, and will be heard at the North Gauteng High Court. 

They were released on warning and told that failure to appear on their next court date would lead to their arrests. 

South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) have been investigating the former Sars High Risk Investigation Unit, as well as former Sars Commissioner Pravin Gordhan, for supposedly taking part in illegal interceptions and spying.

The investigation has been tainted with allegations that it has been used as a political ploy against Gordhan.

African News Agency/ANA