Sars spy love gets ugly

2014-08-31 15:00

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The lurid romance between SA Revenue ­Service (Sars) executive Johan van Loggenberg and Pretoria lawyer and alleged spy ­Belinda Walter has taken a new turn, with court papers describing her behaviour as ­unethical and “unspeakable”.

Walter is at the centre of a scandal involving rogue agents of the State Security Agency (SSA) who allegedly tried to discredit Van Loggenberg, Sars’ investigations head.

Three affidavits filed this month before the North Gauteng High Court reveal that Walter called a meeting in February with directors of a tobacco company to smear Van Loggenberg. At the time, Van Loggenberg and his Sars team were investigating the tobacco firm for tax evasion.

This month, City Press reported that ­Walter (41) was an SSA agent and solicited an affair with Van Loggenberg to infiltrate and disgrace him. She also had affairs with several tobacco industry clients and her SSA ­handlers, apparently in an attempt to solicit information from them.

Walter, however, denied being an SSA agent and slammed City Press’ reporting as outlandish, ridiculous and spurious. But she failed to respond to requests for comment on the affidavits filed on August 6.

In court papers, Walter is accused of breaching attorney-client privilege in the “gravest manner possible”. Her actions are described as “unlawful”, “wrong” and “illegal”.

The Law Society of the Northern Pro-vinces confirmed this week it is dealing with a complaint about her allegedly unethical behaviour.

The affidavits say Walter was involved in both industrial and state espionage, and sold confidential client information.

Kyle Phillips, a director of cigarette company Carnilinx, says he received a message from Walter on January 31 asking for an urgent meeting. Walter was Carnilinx’s attorney ­until November last year.

That month, Walter and Van Loggenberg began a relationship and when he discovered she acted for the same tobacco companies Sars was investigating, he asked her to resign.

On January 31, Walter and Van Loggenberg had an argument. Phillips and two of his directors, Adriano Mazzotti and Mohammadh Sayed, and a senior advocate of the Johannesburg Bar met Walter the following afternoon.

All three of them say Walter confessed to being an SSA agent and admitted she began working for the then National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in 2009. She also named her handlers, including former NIA domestic chief Gibson Njenje. And she told them she was paid in cash.

The affidavits say Walter confessed to being on the payroll of tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT) and providing confidential information to them about her smaller clients. Phillips says Walter told them BAT paid her almost R900?000 for the information.

Mazzotti said much of the meeting was about Van Loggenberg’s allegedly unethical behaviour. She claimed he used her to get ­information about Carnilinx.

The affidavits say Walter said she was ­prepared to put everything in an affidavit. She never did.

Walter and Van Loggenberg made up shortly afterwards, and Walter began retracting everything she had said.

She sent text messages to Van Loggenberg, pleading for forgiveness.

“I love you with all my heart. I feel so ­disgusted and disappointed in myself that not only did I betray you, but the types of things I said to those scumbags. You should hate me,” she sent on February 2.

City Press understands Van Loggenberg has appeared before the inspector-general of intelligence, and has provided details about the alleged SSA dirty tricks campaign against him and other officials.

State Security Minister David Mahlobo ­instructed the inspector-general to investigate allegations of misconduct by Walter and other SSA agents.

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