The Hawks are preparing to swoop down on finance minister Pravin Gordahn on charges of “espionage” related to the so-called “spy unit” of SARS, the Sunday Times reported.
Citing senior sources within the Hawks, the paper said that a case has been handed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a decision to be made to prosecute Gordhan and eight other SARS officials said to be involved.
The unit has been accused of illegally gathering information in tax payers in South Africa.
According to the report, a number of Cabinet ministers are aware of the imminent arrest, and the Hawk and the NPA are waiting for the political “go ahead”. The paper said Gordhan will be offered the opportunity to appear in court to avoid the embarrassment of being cuffed.
The Hawks declined to comment, while the NPA confirmed it was involved in the case, though it said the matter is still under investigation and no decision has been made to prosecute anyone.
Gordhan has long been a target of the Hawks, who have been after him since before he took up the position of Finance Minister again last year.
The unit has said that it is not investigating the minister specifically, but rather wanted him to answer for the alleged ‘spy unit’ which was set up under his watch as commissioner at SARS.
Gordhan has maintained that the unit was established legally and above board, as far as he was aware.
The Sunday Times reported that finance minister facing criminal prosecution would send South Africa’s market crashing in a similar vein to the dreaded “9/12” of 2015, when former minister Nhlanhla Nene was sacked by president Jacob Zuma in which R500 billion was said to be wiped from the economy.
The full story can be read in the Sunday Times for 15 May 2016