JOHANNESBURG: Mr Gordhan also intimated that the legislature didn’t back such a unit inside Sars, hence the need to ask that the unit be placed inside the NIA.
Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo intervened a number of times when things got heated between Senior Counsel Mr Dali Mpofu and the minister of public enterprises Mr Pravin Gordhan.
Mr Gordhan continued to defend himself against former SARS commissioner Mr Tom Moyane’s allegations through his legal counsel Mr Mpofu, on Tuesday evening.
According to Mr Mpofu, Mr Gordhan should face criminal charges including the establishment of a rogue unit at SARS, perjury, breach of Precca which Mr Gordhan continues to deny.
On the allegation of perjury
For allegedly lying to the commission in his testimony last year when implicating Mr Moyane in the state capture project, Mr Mpofu said he (Mr Gordhan) had committed perjury.
During his first appearance at the inquiry, Mr Gordhan said Mr Moyane was “advancing the state capture project”, citing “gossip” as the source of his evidence”.
When quizzed by Mr Mpofu again on Tuesday over “gossip” as his source, Mr Gordhan apologised and said he used the word “gossip” loosely.
“I had some direct information. At the time I used ‘gossip’ but I did not rely entirely on gossip,” Mr Gordhan said.
On breaching of Precca
Mr Mpofu said Mr Gordhan had breached the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities (Precca) Act for not reporting to police alleged corrupt and “state capture” acts by Mr Moyane. Precca places “a duty on certain persons holding a position of authority to report certain corrupt transactions”.
When Mr Mpofu asked Mr Gordhan if he reported Mr Moyane’s alleged criminality to police, “since you knew about it since 2016”, Mr Gordhan said state capture had many facets, many of which were not “criminal”.
“No, I did not report it because I did not regard it [Mr Moyane’s alleged conduct] as being part of state capture. For example, hollowing out an institution of its senior and most skilled people, breaking up a unit dealing with illicit cigarettes and tobacco; dismantling the executive committee and centralising power.”
“State capture can relate to damage caused to the human resource capacity an institution has,” Mr Gordhan said.
Mr Mpofu interjected while Mr Gordhan was trying to explain his point.
“The question was whether I have reported corrupt activities relating to Preca Act,” Mr Gordhan said.
Mr Mpofu: “And when are going to answer the question, did you or not report the matter to the police?”
Mr Gordhan: “State Capture in the legislation is not defined as a crime.”
Mr Mpofu: “Chair I have to intervene, did you report the matter to the police or not?”
Mr Gordhan: “Report what?”
Mr Zondo: “The matter of Mr Moyane’s alleged involvement in state capture?”
Mr Gordhan: “There has to be a singular act of corruption which at that point in time I couldn’t identify.”
In the end, Mr Gordhan finally admit that he did not report Mr Moyane’s allege crime to the police when asked by Mr Zondo.
“No, I didn’t because I didn’t see it in the preview of state capture,” Mr Gordhan said.
Breach of intelligence laws
Mr Mpofu said Mr Gordhan had knowingly constituted a covert unit (rogue unit) within Sars, which was in breach of intelligence legislation.
Mr Mpofu read a letter that Mr Gordhan wrote to then finance minister Mr Trevor Manuel, asking for funds for a covert unit to tackle organised crime, which would be placed within the now-defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
In the letter, Mr Gordhan also intimated that the legislature didn’t back such a unit inside Sars, hence the need to ask that the unit be placed inside the NIA.
“So yes, you knew that the unit did not have the legislative mandate to exist,” Mr Mpofu said.
Mr Gordhan finally admitted that he set up a unit that was not within the legislative framework of Sars.