Rogue spy unit report rocks Sars

2014-12-21 07:45
A Sars office in Krugersdorp. (Sars)

A Sars office in Krugersdorp. (Sars)

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Johannesburg - An independent investigation into a rogue spy unit has rocked the South African Revenue Services as tax settlements worth billions could be reversed.

According to the Sunday Times, high profile South Africans including Dave King, Cobus Wiese and Julius Malema could be faced with much higher tax bills if their deals are reviewed.

The investigation carried out by a panel headed by advocate Muzi Sikhakhane has confirmed reports – that were continuously denied by Sars – that the rogue unit engaged in a wide spectrum of illegal activities.

It found that Sars operated a covert unit that illegally spied on taxpayers, including some it had cut deals with. As a result, all deals over the past ten years could be up for review.

Deals include businessman King’s R700m settlement reached after he owed Sars R2.7bn, while Wiese settled for an undisclosed amount after being slapped with a R2bn bill last year.

The report has recommended that Sars conduct a forensic investigation into all settlements concluded since 2005.

The Sars scandal dominated headlines last week after the Johannesburg Labour Court ordered the revenue service to lift Deputy SA Revenue Service commissioner Ivan Pillay's suspension.

Sars declined to comment on the Sikhakhane report.

As reported by Sapa on Thursday, Judge Annelie Basson stated that Pillay’s suspension had been unlawful on the basis that it was in breach of his employment contract.

She ordered that Pillay return to work on Friday. Sars was also ordered to pay costs.

On December 5, Sars commissioner Tom Moyane announced the suspension of Pillay and strategic planning and risk group executive Peter Richer.

This followed the appointment by Pillay of a panel to investigate allegations reported in the media about a special projects unit and its alleged illegal activities at Sars.

Sars chief operations officer Barry Hore had also resigned.

On Wednesday, Pillay and Richer approached the Labour Court to have their suspensions overturned.

Richer reached a settlement with Sars and his suspension was withdrawn on Wednesday.

Read more on:    sars  |  ivan pillay

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