South African finance minister won’t meet police


South Africa’s finance minister has said he won’t present himself to police for questioning over a spy unit formed while he still headed the country’s tax office. His lawyers advised him he did not need to attend.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan rebuffed a call by police to let him be questioned over a highly controversial unit within the country’s revenue service that allegedly spied on high-ranking politicians.

Gordhan said in a statement that his lawyers had assured him he was under no obligation to submit himself to an interrogation.

“I therefore, do not intend to present myself for a warning statement for many considerations, both legal and given my other commitments,” he said.

Gordhan, who was summoned for Thursday, has acknowledged the existence of the spy unit, but he said none of its members had received his permission to commit crimes or did so with his knowledge.

He noted that he was not a suspect in the investigation, which is being carried out by an elite squad of police investigators known as the Hawks. The probe has been criticized by opposition politicians as a political witch hunt, as Gordhan is known for tackling profligate spending – to the chagrin of some government officials.

cjc/uhe (AFP, Reuters)


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