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NPA to analyse Hawks’ evidence in controversial Sars unit probe

While the unit is waiting on the docket, it says it will analyse the evidence before deciding on prosecution.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan pictured with President Jacob Zuma in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it will analyse the Hawks' evidence on the controversial South African Revenue Service (Sars) unit before deciding on prosecution.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and three former Sars officials have been identified as suspects in an investigation into the nature and conduct of a now defunct Sars unit.

The four were summoned to the Hawks' offices last Thursday for a warning statement, however, the minister chose not to present himself, saying he was under no obligation to do so.

The NPA's Luvuyo Mfaku says by close of business on Friday, the docket had still not arrived.

"They will check whether any people or person should be prosecuted or not."

'30 WITNESSES CALLED'

Meanwhile, the City Press is reporting that around 30 witnesses have been called to testify against Gordhan and the other officials.

The paper says it's been informed by four senior sources within the NPA that NPA head Shaun Abrahams has been asked to personally deal with the case.

The paper says Gordhan will face charges of corruption for granting former Sars Commissioner Ivan Pillay early retirement and then approving a contract for him.

It says Pillay, former Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula and former high risk unit head Johann van Loggerenberg are also set to face charges in connection with a covert unit.

It's believed Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza was furious that Gordhan refused to present himself and has requested that Abrahams fast track the case.

The three other Sars officials did present themselves to the Hawks in Pretoria last week and were questioned.

SUPPORT FOR GORDHAN

Several academics have backed the finance minister. In a letter, the academics noted that since early this year, Gordhan has been subjected to an unrelenting attack from the Hawks and want the president to intervene.

At the same time, struggle veterans Ahmed Kathrada and Barbara Hogan have called on President Jacob Zuma to intervene in what they called "an attack by the Hawks on the minister".

The veterans noted, "Dear Pravin, we recall your courageous and consistent struggle record as a freedom fighter and later as minister. Try as they may; no mischievous elements will succeed in their nefarious efforts to dent your contribution. Certainly not in South Africa, and not in the world. Keep strong."

However, the ANC Youth League and Women's leagues don't agree with Gordhan's position.

They have accused him of disrespecting state institutions.

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