Sars boss: I will get to bottom of Zuma bugging allegations

2014-10-14 16:47

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Newly appointed South African Revenue Service commissioner Thomas Moyane has vowed to thoroughly investigate allegations that a rogue Sars intelligence unit bugged President Jacob Zuma’s home.

Briefing Parliament’s standing committee on finance today, he referred to weekend reports of the alleged existence of a covert intelligence unit within Sars.

“Members of the ... committee may have seen in the latest headlines this past weekend, [the] allegations against Sars, and the alleged existence of a covert intelligence unit,” he said.

According to the Sunday Times newspaper, a former spymaster blackmailed Sars into paying him R3 million to keep silent about how its intelligence unit broke into Zuma’s Forest Town home in Joburg and planted listening devices.

At the time, Zuma was unemployed after he had been fired as deputy president. He was in the running for the African National Congress presidency and had just been acquitted on a rape charge.

The spymaster, known as “Skollie”, whose real name was reportedly known to the Sunday Times, was the head of Sars’ special projects unit, later renamed the national research group.

Today, Moyane – who was appearing before MPs for the first time since assuming office on September 27 – said the matter had been brought to his attention last week, and he had immediately convened an urgent meeting of Sars senior officials.

“Under my leadership, things of this nature will not be condoned, [including] rogue activities within the organisation. I will take decisive action if any credible evidence is found where the law has been breached.”

Moyane assured the committee the matter was “being seen in a serious light”, and the allegations would be thoroughly investigated.

“I take full responsibility to ensure that the matter gets the prominence it deserves, and it is given high priority.”

“I have instructed senior managers that ... where possible transgressions have taken place, to provide me with a full report of events, and the facts must be provided to me by the end of this week,” he said.

The Sunday Times said it had seen documents and spoken to Sars officials (on condition of anonymity), who claimed that the unit intercepted a meeting between Zuma and Sars executive at the time Leonard Radebe at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban ahead of the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference.

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