Former SARS employees hit back after receiving summons
Former tax officials Johan van Loggerenberg and Ivan Pillay‚ who were served summons on Friday‚ have denied any wrongdoing.
A third man‚ Andries Janse van Rensburg‚ also known as Skollie‚ was also served summons in a case linked to the so-called “SARS Rogue Unit”.
The summons was served on Friday and the trio are set to appear before the Pretoria Regional Court on April 9 to answer to charges of contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
Pillay and Van Loggerenberg said on Friday that this latest action of the National Prosecuting Authority was not surprising given that NPA has “consistently demonstrated clear bias and malice‚ which appear to have been driven by the concerns of [SARS commissioner Tom] Moyane”.
TimesLIVE reported on Friday that the charges could be related to an alleged payment of R100‚000 to “rogue unit whistleblower” and fellow South African Revenue Service (SARS) employee Hendrick Lombard.
Lombard is one of two “whistleblowers” regarding an operation code-named Project Sunday Evenings‚ allegedly established to spy on the NPA‚ which at the time was prosecuting former police commissioner Jackie Selebi.
Janse Van Rensburg is the other “whistleblower” in the matter.
In a statement issued through lawyers on Friday evening‚ Pillay‚ Van Loggerenberg and Janse van Rensburg said they “emphatically deny” allegations against them.
“[They] will rely on the integrity of the judicial process‚ which they are confident will vindicate them. Van Loggerenberg‚ Pillay and Janse van Rensburg will be writing to the NPA to seek an opportunity for them to make representations‚” the statement read.
The trio said the summons related to a controversial KPMG report on the “rogue unit”.
“The charges for which they have been summonsed relate to investigations/documentary reviews that were conducted by KPMG on the instruction of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) since 2014.
“At the outset‚ it must be noted that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had charged Mr Pillay in October 2016 on aspects from the same KPMG report. The NPA was later compelled to withdraw these charges as important exculpatory evidence – that was either withheld‚ hidden or not considered - was publicly disclosed‚ when the NPA’s decision to prosecute Pillay and others‚ including Minister Pravin Gordhan‚ was challenged by Freedom Under Law.
“The KPMG report has since been thoroughly discredited and KPMG itself has withdrawn the conclusions‚ findings and recommendations. KPMG and its auditors are now the subject of investigations by IRBA [Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors] and SAICA [South African Institute of Chartered Accountants]‚” they said.
The case was also linked‚ they said‚ to a complaint lodged by SARS commission Tom Moyane. Pillay and Van Loggerenberg were summoned for warning statements in September 2016 in relation to this case.
“At no point during the process of taking their warning statements were Pillay and Van Loggerenberg questioned on any allegations or facts which speak to the latest charges. On the contrary‚ they offered to make representations to the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] and the NPA‚ which were ignored. The process of concluding the warning statements at that time was never perfected because the docket was handed over to the NPA by the DPCI before Pillay and Van Loggerenberg were given a chance to be heard.
“Pillay and Van Loggerenberg are disappointed but not surprised by the latest behaviour of the NPA in this matter as they have consistently demonstrated clear bias and malice‚ which appear to have been driven by the concerns of Moyane‚” the statement said.