Criminal charges to be dropped in Sars ‘rogue unit’ case

07 February 2020 - 20:16 By Matthew Savides
Former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
Former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
Image: GCIS

Charges are to be formally dropped in the case against former Sars employees in the so-called “rogue unit” case.

The announcement was made by the National Prosecuting Authority on Friday night.

“The National Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Shamila Batohi, has decided to withdraw charges against Ivan Pillay, Andries Janse Van Rensburg and Johan Van Loggerenberg. The NDPP has informed relevant prosecutors and the lawyers representing the accused of this decision,” said NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke.

The trio faced various charges, including that they had set up an illegal unit within Sars - which was dubbed the “rogue unit” - to spy on taxpayers.

Pillay and Van Loggerenberg has also been charged with contravention of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act.

“This matter has since been the subject of protracted litigation and communication between the defence and the NPA.

“Following the defence submitting representations to the NDPP in support of a request to have the decision to prosecute reviewed, the NDPP appointed a review panel to consider the matter, and to provide her with an opinion and recommendations ,” the statement read.

Makeke said the panel had submitted its report and handed it over to Batohi.

“After a careful assessment of the evidence and other relevant material, the unanimous conclusion of the panel in respect of all counts, is that there are no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution. The panel recommends that all charges against the accused be withdrawn.

“The NDPP agrees with the panel that there are no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution in this matter.

“As a result, the NDPP has decided that charges against all the accused will be withdrawn,” said Makeke.