JOHANNESBURG — Advocate Shaun ‘the Sheep’ Abrahams will likely go down in history as South Africa’s most disastrous head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Under his ‘leadership’ (or shall I say total lack thereof), the NPA has lurched from one crisis to the next. Why he is still in his post is anybody’s guess. And with what looks like another bungle regarding Friday’s charging of three ex-SARS officials (based on a withdrawn and flawed KPMG report on the ‘rogue unit’), it will be interesting to see whether Shaun ‘the Sheep’ survives this latest scandal. In the meantime, respected experts, such as retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johann Kriegler, have slammed Abrahams for his latest missteps. – Gareth van Zyl
By Johann Kriegler*
Former SARS officials under fire
Some 18 months ago NDPP Shaun Abrahams and the National Prosecuting Authority suffered a public humiliation when their highly-publicised charges against certain former SARS officials and Minister Pravin Gordhan had to be abandoned.
They were faced with clear refuting evidence of which they were (or ought to have been) aware. KPMG has since repudiated its so-called “forensic report” on which the allegations were largely based.
Now, once again, the NPA, urged on by SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane, has seen fit to revive the “rogue unit” fable, levelling charges linked to the unit dating back to 2007/8.
Freedom Under Law is convinced that the current allegations are as groundless as those of 2016 and will suffer the same fate.
FUL notes with concern that, although Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg have throughout been able and willing to co-operate, these brand-new charges have been presented without any enquiry, forewarning or opportunity to make representations. This is in such contrast to the courtesies accorded others that there is every reason to question the motive behind these renewed allegations.
Freedom Under Law is consequently writing to the President urging him to consider suspending Adv Abrahams and his senior colleagues Dr Torie Pretorius and Adv Sibongile Mzinyathi forthwith.
- Judge Johann Kriegler is the Chair of Freedom Under Law. After 25 years at the bar and 10 on the bench, Johann Kriegler served on the new Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1994 to 2002. Under the previous government, he played an active role in establishing various human-rights and public-interest advocacy bodies and is at present involved in the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and various other human-rights bodies, as also in the training of judges and advocates at home and abroad.