South Africa’s emboldened Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has written to SA’s investigation body The Hawks, telling them that he will not be able to meet the deadline given to him. Gordan said he needed more time before responding to their questions regarding the alleged “rogue unit” at the SA Revenue Services (Sars).
The minister via a letter sent through his lawyers, said his answers to their questions will not be ready by 4pm today as stipulated.
His lawyer Malatji pointed out in the letter sent to office of the national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation that at the time Gordan received the Hawks’ first letter [February 19], the minister was busy preparing the National Budget speech.
“You are aware of the national importance of the budget speech, and that he [Gordhan] was not able to permit any distractions to jeopardize the budget processes.”
“In the circumstances, he has only just been able to begin to consult with his legal representatives on the best way in which to respond to your letter and the questions annexed to it.”
“He is therefore unable to respond by 16:00 today as you have requested.”
“He will respond in due course, once he has properly examined the questions and ascertained what information, of the information you request, he is able to provide,” the letter stated.
The minister also used the avenue to ask The Hawks on whose authority they forwarded the 27 questions to him.
“We request the following information to assist him in preparing his response: On what authority do you rely on directing these questions to the Honourable Minister? Are you investigating any offence? If so, what is it?,” the Hawks were asked.
Last week, the minister received a letter from the Hawks containing 27 questionsvthey needed answers to in order to investigate an alleged ‘rogue unit’ formed when Gordhan was in-charge of Sars.
Following what seemed to be a politically-influenced investigation, President Zuma has denied having anything to do with the investigation. Also, ANC secretary has supported Gordhan, saying the people calling for the investigation want to make him [Gordhan] lose focus.
On the other hand, the Hawks said they never meant to investigate Gordhan and that he was merely the “suitable man to talk to” since he was a commissioner at Sars at the time when the furtive unit was allegedly established.
“We can confirm that as the Hawks, we are investigating a case concerning the alleged illegal operations by a so-called ‘rogue unit’ within the South African Revenue Services (Sars), not Mr Gordhan per se,”
“As part of our thorough investigations into the operations of the said unit we needed some clarity and Mr Gordhan, who was the man at the helm of Sars at that time, was the suitable man to talk to, hence we sent him a set of questions for him to answer,” the Hawks said in a statement.