Lackay’s letter accuses SARS of lying to Parliament and public

2015-04-23 00:00

THE former spokesperson for the SA Revenue Services (SARS) has accused the tax man of intentionally deceiving both Parliament and the public.

Adrian Lackay, who was the SARS spokesperson for the past 11 years, made this and several other serious accusations in a letter he sent to Parliament’s standing committee on finance as well as the joint standing committee on intelligence.

In the letter, Lackay lances a boil that has been festering for months at SARS, describing how key role players at the tax office have since the appointment of Tom Moyane as commissioner in September been bullied, threatened, silenced and suspended to ensure a certain narrative is sold to the public.

This narrative is allegedly made up from “little fact and a lot of fiction” and relates to allegations of a “subversive” investigations unit that allegedly spied on politicians and President Jacob Zuma.

According to Lackay SARS did nothing to still the rumours, which left him to conclude the “narrative” and “stories” suited it. It ensured that Moyane took drastic steps that reflected negatively on SARS.

Two sources at SARS have confirmed the allegations in Lackay’s letter.

In it Lackay wrote he wants to present the true sequence of events before Moyane appears before the committees. Lackay seems to imply Moyane will not present Parliament with all the facts.

He also revealed a slew of irregularities, including that:

• Moyane had ordered Lackay to issue media statements which Lackay later ­realised were riddled with “false and wrong information”;

• Information on large scale fraud, racketeering and money laundering in ­especially the cigarette sector was being buried;

• Former head of investigations ­Johann van Loggerenberg had repeatedly requested that criminal charges be laid against transgressors in the tobacco industry, but SARS neglected to act on these requests;

• The break up of the relationship of attorney and spy Belinda Walter and Van Loggerenberg catalysed the chaos in which SARS now finds itself; and that Walter is also involved in offences in the tobacco industry;

• Continued disciplinary and legal steps were instituted against ousted and suspended members, despite Moyane losing in court and disciplinary committees. The tax payer had to foot a bill for these losses that amounted to millions of rands.

• Highly placed SARS officials selectively leaked information to especially the Sunday Times to strengthen the “false narrative”.

The DA had on Tuesday tried but failed to submit this letter with the Sikhakhane report on alleged irregularities against Van Loggerenberg to the committee on finance.

DA MP Dion George said it is worrying that neither parliamentary committee to whom Lackay had sent his letter, had tabled it in time to confront Moyane with the allegations last month. He said Moyane’s version of the events to Parliament does not tally with the accusations made in Lackay’s letter and in statements in the Sikhakhane report.

Acting SARS spokesperson Luther Lebelo did not want to comment on the content of Lackay’s letter because it does not enjoy “official status” in Parliament.

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