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Nhleko: There’s nothing unusual about the questions sent to Gordhan

Nhleko says the Hawks’ questions to Gordhan were part of ‘an ordinary exercise’ to gather information.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko giving an update on the Nkandla Project during the media briefing at Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town on 28 May 2015. Picture: GCIS.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan,SARS,SARS rogue intelligence unit,Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko
Local Politics

CAPE TOWN - Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko says there is nothing out of the ordinary about the questions sent to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan about the so-called “rogue unit” at the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

Nhleko and Minister of State Security David Mahlobo have been briefing journalists in Parliament.

Gordhan was to have responded to the 27 questions today.

Nhleko says he’s requested an extension.

The police minister says the questions sent to Gordhan by the Hawks, just days before his Budget speech, were part of “an ordinary exercise” to gather information about the rogue unit at Sars.

“The fact that questions would have been sent to an individual does not mean that that individual is necessarily facing an investigation or is being charged for that matter, because those are formal processes as and when police decide it has got to be so.”

The unit was set up when Gordhan was Sars commissioner.

Nhleko confirmed that Sars Boss Tom Moyane laid the complaint with the police in May last year.

He dismissed the timing of the questions to Gordhan, saying police officers cannot be expected to behave like politicians and have to do their work as and when they must.

'NO POLITICAL MANOEUVRING’

Nhleko says there was no “political manoeuvring” in the decision by the Hawks to send questions to Gordhan.

Nhleko was asked whether Gordhan was a victim of political witch-hunt.

“The question of a political witch-hunt… I do not know where it arises.”

Nhleko says the focus of the Hawks probe is on the unit that he says spent more than a million rand on surveillance and other equipment and that may have acted beyond the law.

“These are matters that falls within the capabilities and competency of the State security or intelligence capability that resides with state security agency on season and that’s the issue.”

Nhleko says the questions sent to Gordhan don’t mean he is under investigation or facing charges, but says this will be up to the police to decide.

GORDHAN SENDS QUESTIONS TO NTLEMEZA

Meanwhile, lawyers for the finance minister have asked Hawks Head Berning Ntlemeza whether any offence is actually being investigated and on what authority they are asking Gordhan questions.

In a letter addressed to Hawks head, Gordhan's attorneys say they requested information to help them prepare their responses to the questions he’s been asked.

They then ask on what authority are they relying in asking Gordhan these questions, before enquiring whether a specific offense is being investigated and, if so, which one.

The attorneys also explain how the Hawks must have been aware of the special circumstances of last week, when Gordhan was preparing a Budget speech of national importance, and thus he is not able to meet their deadline of today.

But they do say he will respond in due course once he’s properly examined them and ascertained what information he can provide.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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