More calls for top state capture advocates to step down

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Solly Makganoto

The Anti-Poverty Forum (APF) has on Sunday appealed to the commission of inquiry into state capture to remove evidence leader Paul Pretorius and senior counsel, Advocate Vincent Maleka.

The forum believes both advocates will not be impartial, specifically when it comes to the evidence by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
On Friday the Academic Professional Staff Trade Union (APSA) also made an appeal to Advocate Pretorius to rescue himself from the Inquiry Commission.

Africa News 24/7 is in possession of the letter dated 18 November and signed off by the forum’s Director Phapano Pasha which claims Pretorius may have close links to Gordhan.

“The same perception on conflict of interest also permeates with the commission evidence leader Adv Pretorius SC be it direct or perceived. Adv Pretorius SC represented Mr. Adrian Lackay at the CCMA in a matter between Lackay v SARS on pro bono for well over 200 hours. It is common cause that both Minister Pravin Gordhan and Adrian Lackay have long-term personal and professional relationship spanning for over 15 years which has developed into a father-son relationship.

“It was therefore not surprising that upon his appointment as the Minister of Public Enterprise the first thing Minister Gordhan did was to appoint his former spokesperson at SARS, Mr. Lackay as his personal spokesperson without the position being advertised.”

ALSO READ: APSA calls for Adv Paul Pretorius to extricate himself from the Inquiry Commission

The forum further said said that there are similar concerns over Maleka’s impartiality.

“The concerns on impartiality, fairness, and independence are exuberated because advocate Maleka SC also represented Standard Bank which supported the relief that was sought by Minister Pravin Gordhan on the matter regarding the Gupta’s alleged bank account. It is well known that the central protagonist behind the Gupta bank account case was Minister Pravin Gordhan whose main objective was to prove that the bank statements by the Guptas was tantamount to state capture. It is also public knowledge that Adv Maleka has a long history with the law firm Webber Wentzel which also legally represents Vytjie Mentor, who is regarded as a key witness of the State Capture Commission,”

Phasha says the forum will head to court should the two not recuse themselves.