NPA had no evidence to prosecute - legal experts

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has dropped fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, former Sars Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay and former Sars Commissioner Oupa Magashula.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams announced that 'considering the evidence gathered there was no intention for Magashulam, Pillay and Gordhan to act unlawfully'.

The fraud charges were related to the early retirement and re-employment of Pillay.

EWN reporter Barry Bateman says Abrahams explained various the various legislation related to early retirement and said he initially thought there was a case to answer.

The considerations for Abrahams today were that in terms of the requirement for the charge of fraud there has to be an intention and knowledge of criminality, and he says there was an uncertainty at the time between them whether or not this early retirement could be approved.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

Former Constitutional Court Judge Johann Kriegler says before anyone is charged, law authorities need to look at whether there is evidence before making a decision to prosecute.

The man [Abrahams] does not understand the enormity of the harm that he has done and through his staff that has been done to this country.

Judge Johann Kriegler, former Constitutional Court Justice

I have no confidence in him [Abrahams]. Whether the people who appointed him have confidence in him, that's for them to decide.

Judge Johann Kriegler, former Constitutional Court Justice

Constitutional law expert, Pierre De Vos, says Abrahams could have looked at the evidence before he made the announcement to prosecute the three.

De Vos says the Constitution does allow the National Director of Public Prosecutions to look at the charges before deciding to prosecute or not.

His claim that he could not intervene until such time that there was a request to review and set the charges aside is false.

de Vos says Abrahams decision to prosecute at the time could be seen as either 'utterly dishonest' or as being a NDPP who is utterly lacking in basic skills as a lawyer.

However Abrahams has said he will not be stepping down.

Member of steering committee Save South Africa, Lawson Naidoo, says Save South Africa welcomes the decision to withdraw the charges.

However, Naidoo says this is just one aspect of what they are campaigning for. They will continue with public campaign against state capture.

He says their aim is to ensure that key institutions of the State continue with their constitutional mandate without political interference.

Listen to the audio below to hear more analysis...

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