Sars ‘pre-planned’ Ivan Pillay’s suspension

2014-12-17 18:01

The suspension against the SA Revenue Services’ (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay was pre-planned, the labour court has been told.

Pillay’s lawyer Nazir Cassim SC today told the labour court hearing an application seeking to overturn the suspension that his client was not given a chance to give reasons as to why he should not be suspended.

“My client’s (Pillay) suspension was pre-planned and he was not afforded an opportunity to explain why he should not be suspended. He gave a 34-page submission to Sars commissioner (Tom Moyane) but his (Moyane’s) response was that he would not read it,” said Cassim.

Cassim said procedurally his client was to be served with a notice of an intention to be suspended. The notice would then had required that Pillay give reasons why he should not be suspended.

“However that did not happen; my client was called to a meeting where he was served with a prepared suspension notice,’’ he said.

Cassim compared Pillay’s suspension to an arrest he would suffer palpable prejudice to reputation, advancement and fulfilment.

Sars counsel Martin Brassey SC disputed Pillay’s submissions, saying Moyane afforded Pillay enough time to explain why he should not be suspended. He said Moyane had a meeting with Pillay, but the Sars executive opted not to give reasons why he should not be suspended.

“He had a meeting with the commissioner and said nothing,” said Brassey.

Brassey further argued that the allegations against Pillay were “serious” and that he held a senior position and that normal procedures were not entirely applicable to his matter.

“If there is a procedural flaw, that could be corrected. If that pleases the court, Pillay can return to work and he can be suspended procedurally,” he said.

Responding to Pillay’s assertion that his suspension comes at a critical time when Sars is in its third quarter of the financial year... at a time of low growth and revenue collection is even more important than usual, Brassey said Sars would continue with its constitutional mandate in his absence.

Brassey asked the labour court to dismiss Pillay’s application saying it was “unnecessary and a public relations campaign”.

Earlier, Strategic Planning and Risk Executive Peter Richer won his application to have his suspension lifted. Richer and Sars reached an out of court settlement and the revenue collector agreed to pay his legal fees.

Pillay and Richer were suspended after allegations of a rogue unit spying on politicians, drug lords, hitmen among others.

The ruling will be made tomorrow.

Sars Affidavit - Ivan Pillay

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