Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s attorney, Gildenhuys Malatji, released a statement on Thursday morning in an effort to break the perception that the minister had not co-operated with the Hawks and was acting as if he was above the law.

“Nothing can be further from the truth,” the statement said.

Gordhan, they said, had responded fully to all the Hawks’ enquiries, offered to provide any further assistance they might require and had scrupulously acted in accordance with the law.

The lawyer then set out what had happened so far in the saga since the Hawks asked Gordhan to answer 27 questions on February 19 this year. The minister “fully and comprehensively answered them” on March 30, “despite the fact that he was not obliged to do so”.

He said, in paragraph three of his answer, that: “I wish to co-operate fully with any investigation of the Hawks into the activities of Sars.