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NPA boss confirms Gordhan will not be arrested

NPA head Shaun Abrahams says it’s 'mischievous' to suggest the minister's arrest is imminent.

FILE: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams says it's "mischievous" to suggest that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's arrest is imminent, because no such decision has been taken.

Abrahams says arrests are not on the cards, at least for now, in relation to the Hawks' probe into a so-called rogue unit at the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

He says the investigation is ongoing.

Gordhan says the unit, officially known as the National Research Group, was lawfully set up in 2007 when he was Sars commissioner to "penetrate and intercept the activities of tax and customs related crime syndicates."

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, widely known as the Hawks, referred a docket on the National Research Group to prosecutors several weeks ago.

Abrahams has confirmed that since then, prosecutors have given "further guidance" to investigators probing the matter.

"The investigation in respect of the matter is still outstanding, so the guidance has been given to investigators in respect of the investigation, I can assure you that no arrests are imminent."

The NPA head says no decision can be taken on charging anyone until the investigation is concluded.

"No senior government official, past or present, will be arrested in respect of the matter until the investigation has been concluded."

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has warned that arresting Gordhan would cause an economic earthquake that would make Nhlanhla Nene's axing look like a minor tremor.

President Jacob Zuma replaced Nene with African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament (MP) Des Van Rooyen in December last year, sending shockwaves through the markets.

Gordhan was appointed to the post four days later.