- Pravin Gordhan, South African Finance Minister to be Prosecuted for Fraud
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will be prosecuted for fraud, officials said Tuesday, in a move that sent the rand tumbling over concerns about political rivalry and the country’s fragile economy.
Gordhan, 67, was appointed only late last year to calm panicked investors after President Jacob Zuma sacked two finance ministers within four days.
Since then, Gordhan has regularly clashed with Zuma loyalists after vowing to battle poor governance and graft in a government that has been engulfed by regular corruption scandals.
Shaun Abrahams, head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), told reporters that Gordhan would be prosecuted over alleged misconduct when he was previously chief of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) tax collection department.
Gordhan and two others “must be prosecuted and arraigned on the following crimes: count one, fraud,” Abrahams said.
Abrahams repeatedly denied that the NPA was being politically influenced, and he lashed out at criticism that it was not independent.
“The days of disrespecting decisions of the National Prosecuting Authority are over,” he said vehemently.
“The days of non-accountability and not holding senior government officials accountable are over.”
The NPA said the case focused on allegations that Gordhan illegally authorised an early retirement package for a senior colleague at SARS, which Gordhan headed between 1999 and 2009.
– Junk status –
Gordhan, who also served as finance minister from 2009 to 2014, is widely seen as being engaged in a fierce battle within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party over control of the treasury.
Zuma has publicly said he backs Gordhan, who has also been targeted by investigators over a so-called “rogue unit” set up to probe top politicians when he headed the tax service.
Gordhan, a respected technocrat, has often clashed with Zuma and senior ministers over alleged excessive spending, particularly at cash-bleeding state-run entities such as South African Airways.
South Africa’s economy has been struggling with record unemployment, drought and political scandals surrounding Zuma.
Growth is set to be flat this year, and the country risks a damaging credit ratings downgrade to junk status.
Abrahams on Tuesday said he believed that Zuma, who is currently visiting Kenya, knew about the prosecution.
“I informed the (justice) minister of the decision that had been made, because this matter affects a sitting cabinet minister… I deemed it prudent for the minister to inform the president,” he said.
The rand dropped as much as 3.4 percent against the dollar shortly after the announcement.
Obaseki Wins Edo State With a Landslide Victory
Governor Godwin Obaseki has now won the remaining Local Government, Ovia South-West Local Government.
Here is a break down of Ovia South-West’s final result. APC recorded 10, 636 votes while PDP amassed 12, 659.
Total valid votes stood at 23,741 with 743 votes rejected and 24,484 votes cast.
Overall, Obaseki won a total of 13 local governments out of 18, while Ize-Iyamu wins 5. See the details below.
|Esan South East||9,237||10,565|
Obaseki Beats Ize-Iyamu in His Local Government to Extend Lead
Godwin Obaseki Wins Ize-Iyamu Local Government to Extend Lead
Governor Godwin Obaseki has won Orhionmwon Local Government Area to extend his lead over Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who hails from Orhionmwon, won his polling unit but failed to win the entire council area as Obaseki wins again.
Orhionmwon was one of the two remaining local governments. Therefore, it now remains one local government area, Ovia South-West, with Obaseki cruising to victory following 17 LG counts.
Obaseki now has 295,296 votes while Ize-Iyamu has 212,983.
Obaseki is no expected to win Saturday’s governorship election after amassing massive votes across each of the 17 local governments counted.
The remaining local government, Ovia South-West has 73,909 voters, below the over 80,000 lead of Godwin Obaseki.
Obaseki, PDP Members Celebrate Potential Win in Situation Room
Obaseki Celebrates With Other PDP Members in Situation Room
Following the strong positive support received from Edo people as shown by almost 90,000 vote gap received over Osagie Ize-Iyamu after 16 local government counts, the executive governor of Edo State, Gowin Obaseki, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members have started celebrating a potential win ahead of the two remaining local government results.
According to the results of the 16 local governments released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Obaseki received 288,572 votes while the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, received 202,525 votes.
With just two local governments left to go, it is safe to say Obaseki has won this particular election again.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu contested against Governor Obaseki four years ago under the Peoples Democratic Party when Obaseki was the gubernatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress before he fell out with his godfather, Adams Oshiomhole.
If wins, Obaseki will be the first gubernatorial candidate to win two elections under the two major parties within four years and vice versa for Ize-Iyamu.
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