Sars bugged NPA offices - report

Johannesburg - A former South African Revenue Service (Sars) agent has confirmed illegally bugging the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and spying on matters related to the corruption case of former police head Jackie Selebi, the Sunday Times reported.

In an affidavit handed to the Hawks last week, Helgard Lombard said as far as he could remember, he only monitored and gave information regarding the Selebi case, and ignored other non-related discussions.

Johan de Waal, who was allegedly part of the same Sars rogue unit, also submitted an affidavit detailing the operation that took place in 2007, whereby senior NPA officials, including then-head Vusi Pikoli, were spied on in relation to the Selebi case.

Selebi was jailed in 2010 after being found guilty of corruption. He was later granted medical parole and died in January this year.

According to their affidavits, audiovisual bugging devices were secretly installed in 12 offices and boardrooms’ at the NPA’s Pretoria headquarters.


Former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, who is accused of authorising the illegal operation in 2007, faces a string of criminal charges as a result, the Sunday Times stated.

Senior prosecutors and former Scorpions officials Gerrie Nel and Andrew Leask are also reportedly implicated for their role in paying for the bugging equipment.

Sars spokesperson Luther Lebelo told the Sunday Times that he was “deeply shocked” at the claims but declined to comment further, saying it would be inappropriate to do so until a report into the matter, from an independent audit firm and senior counsel, was completed.

NPA spokesperson Velekhaya Mgobhozi confirmed that the NPA paid had paid Sars agents more than R900 000 “in relation to security upgrades” at its headquarters.

Last week, Sars denied reports that it had bullied Minister Pravin Gordhan into testifying against senior officials in a disciplinary hearing regarding the so-called rogue unit.

This came after a City Press report that Gordhan would soon receive a letter from Sars’ lawyers insisting he testify at the disciplinary hearings of Pillay and strategic planning head, Peter Richer. But Sars said no such correspondence was sent to Gordhan.

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