Who is Thulani Dhlomo?

2017-09-17 05:57
 Thulani Dhlomo

Thulani Dhlomo

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The man who managed the rogue State Security Agency (SSA) unit linked to the campaign to purge Sars officials officially took up his post as South Africa’s ambassador to Japan this month. 

Thulani Dhlomo (46) walked into the South African embassy in Tokyo on August 31 dressed in traditional Zulu regalia.

Dhlomo was involved in a rogue SSA unit reportedly behind the project to unseat acting Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay and group executive Johann van Loggerenberg.

City Press revealed the existence of this Special Operations Unit in 2014, then managed by Dhlomo and former Sars group executive Mandisa Mokwena. The unit was linked to various dirty tricks campaigns, including one to unseat Pillay and Van Loggerenberg, attempts to discredit former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and the establishment of a fake worker’s union.

Both Pillay and Van Loggerenberg were eventually forced to leave Sars, after audit firm KPMG was contracted by Sars commissioner Tom Moyane to investigate allegations that they were involved with a covert unit at the revenue collector. These allegations were also used against Gordhan, a previous Sars commissioner.

This week, KPMG was forced to retract the conclusions, recommendations and legal opinions contained in its report, admitting it was wrong to suggest Gordhan knew about the existence of any “rogue unit” at Sars. This followed an investigation by KPMG International into its South African unit.

The resulting scandal – which also relates to KPMG’s oversight of companies owned by and linked to President Jacob Zuma’s friends the Gupta family – led to eight senior executives quitting, including chief executive Trevor Hoole. 

Dhlomo, the former head of special operations and deputy director of counter intelligence in the internal branch of the SSA, left the intelligence agency last year. 

Shortly thereafter, Zuma named him ambassador.

Sources said Dhlomo’s appointment raised eyebrows in intelligence circles because his departure from  SSA apparently related to the large-scale abuse of the covert unit’s secret fund, as well as his foreign travel. 

They alleged the financial irregularities in Dhlomo’s unit led to the resignation of former SSA director-general Sonto Kudjoe, shortly after she began questioning Dhlomo’s unit’s finances. 

Kudjoe did not respond to requests for comment. 

Dhlomo’s appointment at SSA was controversial. An internal audit by the KwaZulu-Natal department of social development, where Dhlomo used to be security chief, found he allegedly interfered with tender procedures. The report recommended he be prosecuted for his role, but that never happened.

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Read more on:    sars  |  ssa  |  ivan pillay  |  jacob zuma  |  thulani dhlomo

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