Rand in trouble as Hawks move in on Gordhan

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan and other former SARS officials have reportedly been ordered to ‘present’ themselves at the Hawks’ offices to receive warning statements, The Daily Maverick reports.

The warning statements are letters informing the officials of charges they will be facing in relation to a so-called “rogue SARS unit” established under Gordhan’s watch, used to spy on citizens and government officials.

According to the DM report, former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, former group executive Johann van Loggerenberg, and former spokesperson Adrian Lackay, and head of the investigative unit, Andries van Rensburg, have been notified along with Gordhan.

The publication said it has been “reliably informed” that the officials have been asked to report to the Hawks offices in Pretoria at 10am on Thursday.

The DM said that the following charges will apply:

  • Pillay, Van Loggerenberg, Lackay and Van Rensburg face possible charges in relation as to how the SARS unit was formed.
  • Pillay will be questioned in relation to his pension payout, and will also face questions about the alleged “project Sunday Evenings”.
  • Van Loggerenberg will be questioned in relation to a charity he ran.
  • Van Rensburg (former head of the SARS unit) will be questioned on his involvement in allegedly bugging the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority in 2007 at the behest of the then Directorate of Special Operations, or the Scorpions, who were investigating police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

The Hawks told the publication that it would not discuss any confidential information attached to any case, and said any claims were “mere speculation”.

Van Loggerenberg, Pillay and Lackay declined to comment on the matter, the DM said.

According to EWN, National Treasury has confirmed that Gordhan received correspondence from the Hawks on Monday, and is currently taking legal advice.

In May 2016, ahead of a critical credit rating period for South Africa, National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams joined the Hawks in rubbishing reports that Gordhan was facing arrest on charges of espionage.

Both the NPA and the Hawks said that there was no investigation into the ‘rogue unit’- but added that there was no obligation to discuss the matter, or comment on any evidence they may or may not have.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi told Reuters that he knew nothing about the report instructing Gordhan to report to the police.

After the report was published, the rand weakened sharply from R13.45 to R13.70. The currency now trading at R13.80 to the dollar.

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Rand in trouble as Hawks move in on Gordhan