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Sars rogue unit: Nhleko mum on ‘charges’ investigated by the Hawks

He’s insisted the Hawks’ questions to Gordhan were part of an ordinary information gathering process.

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.
Hawks,Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan,SARS,SARS rogue intelligence unit,Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko
Local Politics

CAPE TOWN – Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko cannot say what charges the Hawks are investigating in relation to the so-called rogue unit at South African Revenue Service (Sars), nor what legislation is guiding their probe.

Nhleko and state Minister of Security David Mahlobo briefed journalists at Parliament earlier today.

Nhleko insisted the questions sent by the Hawks to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, just days ahead of his crucial Budget speech, were part of an ordinary information gathering process about the existence of the unit.

He claims there was nothing sinister about the timing of the questions being sent to Gordhan and says they do not mean he is under investigation or facing charges.                                  

The police minister was asked to spell out the charges the Hawks are investigating and which laws they suspect to have been broken.

He says the Hawks probe must first be concluded.

“You can only be charged once an investigation would have been conducted, so you start with an investigation, if your investigation leads to a situation where perhaps there are issues to be answered in law and that’s where the issue of charges does come in.”

Nhleko also could not spell out which legislation the Hawks were being guided by, nor whether Cabinet approved the formation of the Sars unit, saying this also formed part of the investigation.

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 said 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 explained 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 did say he would 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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