Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
19 Sep 2017
5:10 am

Sars boss sticks to ‘rogue unit’ guns against the odds

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Helen Suzman Foundation says the tax boss is either 'ignorant' or 'confused'.

FILE PICTURE: PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – APRIL 03: South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane during the revenue’s preliminary collection results announcement on April 03, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath)

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) should brace itself for a barrage of criminal and civil cases against it following auditing firm KPMG’s withdrawal of several aspects of its report on the so-called rogue unit.

This was according to the Helen Suzman Foundation’s Francis Antonie, who said their legal team was considering its options, suggesting they too would be entering the fray.

Former Sars executives Adrian Lackay, Johann van Loggerenberg and Ivan Pillay have gone quiet since the announcement that vindicated them as victims of the false report by KPMG regarding the unit.

Lackay said yesterday he would not comment, while van Loggerenberg’s lawyer, Brett Murrison, was mulling legal action, but could not say against whom.

“At this stage we are considering our legal options and we will disseminate information in this regard in due course.”

Antonie said Sars needed to do urgent damage control. While KPMG was already paying for its sins, the revenue collector had yet to take full responsibility for the several public and legal spats that had emerged since the covert unit was first alluded to.

“I like to believe the wheels of deception are coming off and I do maintain that the KPMG report was massively flawed. Sars, too, have come to that conclusion, but I would like to know why they want to fight this battle when there are other things they should be addressing. It puts Sars in a very poor light, it puts the attack on former finance minister Pravin Gordhan in a very poor light.”

Despite KPMG withdrawing its report on the covert unit, Sars boss Tom Moyane said at a press conference yesterday there was still evidence to support the establishment of the “rogue unit” and insisted Sars did not rely only on the KPMG report to pursue disciplinary investigations against Pillay, Van Loggerenberg and Lackay.

Moyane implied the Sikhakhane investigation into Sars was initiated to investigate the existence of the unit, even though in its report the terms of reference clearly stated that was not the case.

Antonie chalked this up to a possible case of ignorance. He also criticised Moyane’s insistence that there was evidence of a rogue unit.

“I don’t think he is deliberately lying. I think he might be either ignorant or confused. While the matter was raised in our court papers when they brought charges of corruption against Gordhan, they (the National Prosecuting Authority) conceded that the documentation presented resolved the issue and they’re trying to resurrect those issues.

“I think it’s a load of nonsense. If there was wrongdoing, bring it to court. They did bring it to court and the court says there is no wrongdoing.”

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) is expected to give a report to the standing committee on finance in parliament next month.

Yunus Carrim, the chairperson of the committee, said that although both Sars and the IRBA fall under its portfolio, it was neither invited to, nor knew of, the media conference convened by Moyane yesterday. – simnikiweh@citizen.co.za