Spooks get Gord­han docket

Case brought by Tom Moy­ane against Gord­han and other Sars em­ploy­ees is sud­denly re­opened

CityPress - - Front Page - ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

The po­lice docket con­tain­ing the case against Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han was for­mally trans­ferred this week to the crime in­tel­li­gence unit.

City Press has ob­tained the records of case num­ber 427/05/2015, which was opened last May by SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) com­mis­sioner Tom Moy­ane against his pre­de­ces­sor, Ivan Pil­lay, Sars high-risk in­ves­ti­ga­tions unit head Jo­hann van Log­geren­berg, other for­mer Sars of­fi­cials and Gord­han.

The docket his­tory listed in the po­lice’s own case man­age­ment sys­tem re­veals that the case was closed in De­cem­ber, but was sud­denly re­opened this week.

This means that, de­spite re­peated de­nials, the case against Gord­han and the oth­ers is still be­ing pur­sued.

A se­nior crime in­tel­li­gence com­man­der told City Press this week that the case was trans­ferred to the unit be­cause other arms of the po­lice were “not mak­ing suf­fi­cient progress”.

“We were asked to co­op­er­ate in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion with the Hawks and we asked for the phys­i­cal docket,” the se­nior of­fi­cer said.

“It was be­cause we have much better re­sources and ca­pac­ity, and a larger net­work of in­for­mants.”

How­ever, the docket his­tory also re­veals that the Hawks were never for­mally tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case.

This raises ques­tions about why the Hawks and Bri­gadier Nyameka Xaba, the head of its crimes against the state unit, sent Gord­han a list of 27 ques­tions to an­swer at a time when the case had of­fi­cially been dropped.

The CAS sys­tem, a countrywide op­er­at­ing sys­tem used by po­lice across all di­vi­sions and units, re­veals that Moy­ane laid the com­plaint on May 16 last year. He told po­lice that the al­leged crime was com­mit­ted at Sars’ Nieuw Muck­leneuk head­quar­ters af­ter May 4 2007.

The case was regis­tered by a lieu­tenant colonel at Brook­lyn Po­lice Sta­tion, who took Moy­ane’s state­ment.

The sys­tem fur­ther re­veals that – five months later, on Oc­to­ber 26 – the case was as­signed to a more ju­nior de­tec­tive, a cap­tain, at the same sta­tion. Al­most a month af­ter that, on Novem­ber 14, the case was re­as­signed – this time to an even more ju­nior in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, a war­rant of­fi­cer.

Just more than a month there­after, on De­cem­ber 30, the docket was closed by a lieu­tenant colonel and filed a day later, ac­cord­ing to stan­dard po­lice pro­ce­dure. The rea­son pro­vided: un­de­tected.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice hand­book, a docket is closed for be­ing “un­de­tected” when the com­plainant can­not be traced, or when a sus­pect can­not be iden­ti­fied in con­nec­tion with a crime.

The case re­mained of­fi­cially closed un­til Wed­nes­day, when a Brook­lyn war­rant of­fi­cer re­opened it, handed it to a lieu­tenant colonel, who then trans­ferred it to the “na­tional head of­fice of crime in­tel­li­gence” and a Cap­tain C Simp­son, who ac­knowl­edged re­ceipt of it.

How­ever, on Jan­uary 20, while the docket was still of­fi­cially closed, Hawks head Ma­jor Gen­eral Mthandazo Ntle­meza wrote to State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter David Mahlobo to out­line the progress of the case. Ntle­meza cites the same case num­ber – “BROOK­LYN CAS 427/05/2015” – in his cor­re­spon­dence and says “the docket is ready to be sub­mit­ted to the of­fice of the na­tional di­rec­tor of pub­lic prose­cu­tions for fur­ther guid­ance”. Then, on Fe­bru­ary 19, nearly two months af­ter the case was for­mally closed and less than a week be­fore the bud­get speech, Xaba wrote to Gord­han de­tail­ing a list of 27 ques­tions he wanted an­swered. City Press learnt that in Fe­bru­ary, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma was taken through the de­tails of the case. The week af­ter the bud­get speech, Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko told a press con­fer­ence that the ques­tions sent to Gord­han did not mean he was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “It is for clar­ity,” he said, adding that Gord­han’s re­sponses would form part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Hawks deny probe

City Press asked na­tional po­lice and hawks spokesper­son Hang­wani Mu­laudzi a list of ques­tions, in­clud­ing:

Were the Hawks for­mally tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case? Was the CAS sys­tem rig­or­ously fol­lowed? Why did Xaba send the ques­tions to Gord­han when he was not the for­mal in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer?

Why was the case closed and re­opened on Wed­nes­day? He re­sponded in an email: “The [Hawks], through its na­tional head, Mthandazo Ntle­meza, and which was con­firmed by the min­is­ter of po­lice on Tues­day, May 24 2016, we are on record that there is no in­ves­ti­ga­tion against the min­is­ter of Trea­sury.”

Mu­laudzi con­tin­ued: “The direc­torate for pri­or­ity crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion is an in­de­pen­dent en­tity and is not ac­count­able to Brook­lyn [Po­lice Sta­tion]. The ques­tions here­un­der must be di­rected to the sta­tion com­man­der. We have also taken note vis-à-vis the leak­age of in­for­ma­tion thereof. Lastly, no fur­ther queries/com­ments will be en­ter­tained on this mat­ter.”

How­ever, City Press has learnt from two sources close to Pil­lay and Van Log­geren­berg that three of their for­mer per­sonal as­sis­tants and of­fice man­agers at Sars will be in­ter­viewed to­mor­row at Hawks head­quar­ters in Sil­ver­ton, Pre­to­ria, in con­nec­tion with the case.

‘Toxic nar­ra­tive’

On Fri­day, the pres­i­dency is­sued a state­ment in which it “strongly con­demned the toxic nar­ra­tive that is be­ing pro­moted in the me­dia that in­sin­u­ates that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma is en­gaged in a cer­tain ‘war’ with the min­is­ter of fi­nance”.

“The nar­ra­tive is be­ing ped­dled in lo­cal and for­eign me­dia, and some sec­tions of busi­ness, that the pres­i­dent is fight­ing his min­is­ter of fi­nance and the Na­tional Trea­sury depart­ment. The pur­pose of the said ‘war’ is ap­par­ently that the pres­i­dent wishes to take con­trol of Na­tional Trea­sury,” said spokesper­son Bon­gani Ngqu­lunga.

“The pres­i­dency trusts that the in­for­ma­tion ped­dlers will al­low South Africa the space to fo­cus on this na­tional im­per­a­tive and re­frain from the per­pet­ual spread­ing of false ru­mours.”

Ivan Pil­lay re­sponds

Pil­lay told City Press by email on Fri­day that he was not in­formed of any crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his con­duct, and an “ex­plicit con­di­tion” of his set­tle­ment agree­ment with Sars was that “the part­ing of ways is mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial” and that “all Sars-ini­ti­ated charges and re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been with­drawn”.

“It does seem that the direc­torate for pri­or­ity crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ‘the Hawks’ and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity have been pur­su­ing the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion against us,” he said.

“Fol­low­ing the me­dia brief­ing by the min­is­ters of po­lice and state se­cu­rity in March this year, my lawyers wrote to the Hawks of­fer­ing full as­sis­tance with any in­ves­ti­ga­tion into any Sars mat­ters. With­out ad­dress­ing the mer­its of po­ten­tial and, as yet, un­known charges against me and oth­ers, I have for the past two years em­phat­i­cally de­nied that Sars op­er­ated a ‘rogue’ in­tel­li­gence unit within its en­force­ment di­vi­sions that con­tra­vened the laws of our coun­try.

“Clearly, there is no con­sid­er­a­tion for the con­se­quences – po­lit­i­cally or eco­nom­i­cally – of such ac­tions on our coun­try.”

Van Log­geren­berg said yes­ter­day that he had “no for­mal knowl­edge of any in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Hawks or any other law en­force­ment agency” into his con­duct at Sars.

City Press sent a de­tailed list of ques­tions to Trea­sury spokesper­son Phumza Ma­canda on Fri­day, phoned her four times on Fri­day and yes­ter­day, and sent her two text mes­sages yes­ter­day. She de­clined to com­ment.

WARPATH Tom Moy­ane

UN­DER FIRE Pravin Gord­han

PROOF A doc­u­ment re­lat­ing to the case against Pravin Gord­han

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