Fraud charges against South Africa’s Finance Minister dropped


South Africa’s chief prosecutor has termed fraud charges against the country’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as without merit and politically motivated.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams said in a letter to Gordhan’s attorney on Monday that after “perusal” of the matter he had decided to “overrule the decision” to prosecute the minister.

Abrahams said in the letter he had directed that the summons against Gordhan be withdrawn with “immediate effect”.

News of the charges earlier this month rattled the financial markets and the South African rand fell more than 3%.

Gordhan was set to face two charges of fraud this week linked to his rubber-stamping of early retirement for Pillay, a former deputy SARS deputy commissioner, and then reappointing him on contract in 2010, during the minister’s first stint as the head of the Treasury.

Abrahams rejected criticism that the original charges had been politically motivated noting that everyone was treated equally before the law, and that laying charges and reviewing them was normal practice.