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No consideration for consequences in Sars prosecution - Ivan Pillay

May 16 2016 18:31
Ahmed Areff, News24

Johannesburg - Former SA Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay has hit out at people driving the prosecution of those allegedly involved in the so-called rogue unit, saying they have no consideration for the political and economic effect this could have on the country. 

Several reports have claimed that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Pillay, and former finance minister Trevor Manuel faced arrest by Hawks over their alleged involvement with the unit. 

"I have not received formal notice of criminal proceedings against me by any law enforcement agency," Pillay said in a statement carried by Politicsweb on Sunday. 

"Without addressing the merits of potential and, as yet, unknown charges against me and others, I have for the past two years emphatically denied that Sars operated a 'rogue' intelligence unit within its enforcement divisions that contravened the laws of our country.

"I will continue to deny such allegations and will defend myself before court against such charges, which [have] no basis in fact and in law.

"It is apparent that, for those driving this prosecution, there is one principal objective – to remove and punish those who are seen to stand in their way. Clearly, there is no consideration for the consequences – politically or economically - of such actions on our country."

Mutually beneficial parting

He said that in March the ministers of state security and police had confirmed to the media that Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane had instituted a criminal complaint against him and other Sars officials in May 2015, "after I had reached settlement and resigned from Sars".

The explicit condition of the settlement agreement with Sars was that "the parting of ways is mutually beneficial. In a media statement, announcing my resignation on 7 May 2015, Sars stated: 'All Sars initiated charges and related investigations have been withdrawn'," Pillay said. 

"It does seem that the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DCPCI), 'the Hawks', and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have been pursuing the criminal investigation against us based on the Sars complaint.

"Following the media briefing by the two ministers in March this year, my lawyers wrote to the Hawks offering full assistance with any investigation into any Sars matters."

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that the Hawks wanted Gordhan and eight others to be charged with espionage, for spying on taxpayers during his time as Sars commissioner.

On Monday, Daily Maverick reported that Ajay Gupta had allegedly told people dealing with the family's companies that Gordhan, Manuel and Pillay would be arrested by the Hawks in connection with the rogue unit. 

Constitutional democracy

The Presidency dismissed the Sunday Times report, saying it was clearly the "work of dangerous information peddlers who wish to cause confusion and mayhem in the country".

The NPA denied that it had received a docket from the Hawks for a decision on whether to prosecute Gordhan. 

"As far as the so-called rogue unit matter is concerned, which is [being] investigated by the Hawks, our prosecutors are actually guiding that investigation," NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told News24 on Sunday.

News24's sister publication Netwerk24 reported that Manuel said the Hawks and the NPA had not spoken to him. 

"I have no comment, except that the Constitutional Court confirmed on March 31 this year that we live in a constitutional democracy. For this reason, even they [the Hawks] must follow the correct procedure, simply because citizens have rights."



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