Another public protector report against Ivan Pillay set aside by court
The high court in Pretoria on Monday set aside suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report of April 22 in each instance where it relates to former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
The report was on “allegations of maladministration and improper conduct relating to irregular procurement processes by the SA Revenue Service in the appointment of Budge, Barone & Dominick”.
In the report, the public protector said the Hawks were asked to consider investigating successive Sars commissioners over a R100m contract which did not go on tender and had been renewed more than 10 times, dating back to 2007. The contract remained in force and had, to date, cost the taxpayer R1.3bn
The commissioners who renewed the contract were Oupa Magashula, Pillay, Tom Moyane and Edward Kieswetter. The contract commenced in the time when Pravin Gordhan was commissioner.
The public protector said the revenue collector irregularly appointed Budge, Barone & Dominick in 2007 for the provision of strategic projects and related services without following proper procurement processes.
On Monday, Pillay said the report was the third to make adverse findings against him regarding his tenure as an executive of Sars.
It was also the third report to be set aside by judicial review in which Pillay was an applicant.
“In terms of today’s [Monday] consent order, the remedial action directed at Mr Pillay is set aside and declared unlawful.
“Importantly, the court found that the public protector completely failed to give any notice to Mr Pillay of the investigation, he was not granted the right to be heard on the remedial action that was being contemplated against him, and none of the rights to which he is entitled in terms of section 7(9) of the Public Protector Act were afforded him,” Pillay’s lawyer Bernard Hotz said.
In the two previous reports also set aside by the courts, the public protector made adverse findings against Pillay regarding his early retirement from Sars and his pension benefits, his appointment as deputy commissioner, and also implicated him in the establishment of a Sars investigative unit, deemed by the public protector to be “rogue”.
Pillay testified on Friday in the proceedings of the section 194 parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of Mkhwebane to hold office, where he highlighted a litany of similar abuses of power in the investigations conducted by the public protector against him.
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