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Johannesburg – The rand rallied to below R13.60/$ during National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams’ lengthy speech ahead of his announcement that charges have been dropped against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his two co-accused, Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay.
Abrahams made the announcement during an impromptu press briefing held by the NPA at its head office in Silverton. Gordhan was previously expected to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on November 2 on charges of fraud.
Ahead of the briefing, the rand had strengthened, trading at R13.81 on Monday morning when markets opened. This is close to levels recorded on October 10 before the NPA announced plans to charge Gordhan.
On October 11, when the NPA announced it would charge Gordhan, former SA Revenue Service commissioner Magashula and former deputy commissioner Pillay for fraud, the rand skyrocketed to R14.36 against the dollar.
The local unit traded as low as R13.58 against the greenback during Abrahams’ speech and by 11:42 was trading at R13.63/$. That is 1.46% firmer than the unit’s previous close against the greenback.
Rand firm against major currencies in wake of charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan being withdrawn
US $ = R13.63
— Dominic Chimhavi (@DChimhavi) October 31, 2016
The rand has been trading on the front foot for most of the morning and started rallying as it became clear the charges would be withdrawn against the trio.
Abrahams lamented Gordhan’s refusal to make representations to the NPA, and said Magashula and Pillay received a fair hearing.
The NPA still on Sunday insisted there were no plans to drop fraud charges against Gordhan and his two former deputies, rebuffing a City Press report.
The newspaper’s story is “without merit,” NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told Bloomberg by phone on Sunday.
Fin24’s sister publication City Press said informal talks were under way between prosecutors and Gordhan’s lawyers about dropping the charges before the upcoming court date on November 2. The newspaper cited a senior official close to the chief prosecutor, a source close to the finance minister and a letter drafted by prosecutors.
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