Citizen Reporter
5 minute read
9 Oct 2019
11:25 am

‘Ring, ring’: The call that took place between the Sars man and Malema’s lawyer

Citizen Reporter

The EFF leader has denied Johann van Loggerenberg's claims, but the former Sars group executive says he has recordings that can prove it all.

EFF CIC Julius Malema briefs media at the EFF Headquarters in Braamfontein, 5 September 2019. Picture: Neil McCartney

Johann van Loggerenberg on Tuesday released what he says is an edited version of a transcript of one phone call he claims took place with EFF leader Julius Malema’s lawyer Tumi Mokwena.

The former Sars executive at the centre of the “rogue unit” saga said he was uploading it for the public to make up its own mind about it.

Van Loggerenberg last week revealed he was in possession of recorded phone calls and emails that proved Malema had asked for help with his tax affairs through his attorney.

Malema denied this.

News24 reported earlier that Malema and Van Loggerenberg had met at the Sheraton Hotel in 2010, where the former Sars executive attempted to explain in great detail why the narrative in a so-called intelligence dossier, Project Snowman, that a rogue unit was operating at the tax service, was false.

It was during this meeting that Malema was recorded, saying he accepted Sars’ facts showing the narrative of the unit was false, according to Van Loggerenberg.

This was revealed in an affidavit by him, filed as part of an ongoing review application seeking to set aside a public protector report that contained the finding that the High-Risk Investigations Unit, later dubbed the “rogue unit”, had been established unlawfully.

While Malema confirmed he had met with Van Loggerenberg in 2010, he gave his version of the meeting.

He said he had attended a meeting with former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and then commissioner Oupa Magashula. During this meeting, Pillay allegedly took Malema to task for saying Sars was targeting Zuma loyalists.

“I said to them it’s wrong to target people based on their political affiliation. Pillay said to me that he had helped sort out Zuma’s tax affairs, so how could I say they were targeting Zuma people?”

It was after this that Van Loggerenberg met with him, Malema said.

Van Loggerenberg allegedly presented Malema with his tax bill before matters surrounding the “rogue unit” were discussed.

Malema said he was surprised by this, adding he believed Sars was trying to intimidate and silence him.

“That’s how they survived,” he said. “But I told them to fuck off, that if there was issues with my tax they should send me a letter.”

Malema denied he never told Van Loggerenberg he had accepted Sars’ version about the unit. He also challenged him to release the “illegal” recording of the meeting.

In a statement released on Friday evening, Van Loggerenberg acknowledged Malema’s comments, saying it would appear the EFF leader’s memory had failed him at times.

“I have e-mails, recorded phone calls as recorded by myself, and self-made recordings of interactions between the attorney for Mr Julius Malema, namely Mr Tumi Mokwena, who made contact with me on March 3, 2015, on behalf of his client soon after I left Sars,” he said.

“It specifically concerned Mr Malema’s dispute with Sars at that time. I met with Mr Mokwena three times at his request. These culminated in a final meeting soon after, where Mr Mokwena was not prepared to enter into a signed service agreement with me, nor accept my normal business practice of providing invoices for services rendered.”

According to Van Loggerenberg, Mokwena had insisted he provided services without invoices and accepted payment in cash.

“I declined and that ended the interaction. I reported this to Sars and the SSA [State Security Agency] formally at the time. In 2017, Mr Mokwena again called me for tax advice regarding Mr Malema. I was unable to assist him. Mr Malema can obtain these details and records from Mr Mokwena if he so wishes.”

Van Loggerenberg also said Malema was confusing the timeline of events pertaining to when they met.

In a press statement released by Sars on August 23, 2013, the tax authority sought to set the record straight.

“The meeting at the Sheraton Hotel preceded the meeting with Sars that he is referring to.

“The conversation between Mr Malema and I was recorded lawfully by me since I met him alone at the request of Sars. This was required precisely to avoid any misconceptions that might have arisen later.”

Now Van Loggerenberg has released a taster of how one of the calls between him and Mokwena allegedly played out. He published it as follows (unedited):

Ring, ring.

JvL: “Hello?”

Tumi Mokwena: “How are you?”

JvL: “Fine and you?”

Tumi Mokwena: “Very well. Tumi Mokwena here…”

JvL: “Yes sir.”

Tumi Mokwena: “Johann I don’t want much…”

Tumi Mokwena: “Johann, listen…”

JvL: “Yes.”

Tumi Mokwena: “Julius just gave me a call now…”

JvL: “Yes.”

Tumi Mokwena: “We are going for (tax matter) in two weeks.”

JvL:” The (tax matter)?

Tumi Mokwena: ” Yes, (tax matter). Eh……he just said maybe we should sit down with you and just run our case by you and maybe you have an idea or two for us…”

(What follows then is a detailed description of the tax matter, which, although I am not under any obligation to keep it confidential, since by then I had left SARS, I will respect the fiscal privacy of Mr JS Malema MP and not disclose this here.)

JvL: “You must be missing us, heh? (chuckles)

Tumi Mokwena: “Terribly…” (chuckles) Terribly…(more chuckles)

JvL: “Look, one thing I can tell you, is you can assume this conversation we are having is…uhm…is now known.”

Tumi Mokwena: “No problem…”

JvL: “You can assume that. I assume that.”

Tumi Mokwena: “No problem…no problem with that…”

JvL: “So it is important for me to say that I cannot…I cannot use what I acquired in the course of my duty, in advising you. I can do that from the outside in…”

Tumi Mokwena: “I understand that.”

JvL: “Okay…so if you can send me the relevant documents to…”

(What follows are arrangements to receive relevant documents by email.)

Van Loggerenberg asked readers to note that this had been the second time he was asked for such assistance after having left Sars.

He made it clear that he never assisted; “formally reported all such contacts to the authorities as they occurred; “never took a cent”; would not deny something when it could be proven; and “All calls and meetings were self-recorded using my own personal mobile phone.”

He challenged the country to decide for itself.

(All background reporting, News24. Compiled by Charles Cilliers)

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