Sars denies bullying Gordhan

2015-05-14 19:04
Pravin Gordhan. (GCIS)

Pravin Gordhan. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - The SA Revenue Service (Sars) has denied reports that it bullied Minister Pravin Gordhan into testifying against senior officials in a disciplinary hearing regarding the so-called rogue unit.

This followed a City Press report last week that Gordhan would soon receive a letter from Sars’ lawyers insisting he testify at the disciplinary hearings of his former deputy, Ivan Pillay, and strategic planning head, Peter Richer.

According to the paper Sars’ lawyers indeed sent Gordhan a scathing letter on Wednesday, asking that he help them prepare for Pillay and Richer’s disciplinary hearings.

If Gordhan failed to respond by close of business on Friday, the lawyers reportedly wrote, that they had been instructed to go to court to nullify Pillay’s extended contract and “institute criminal and civil proceedings to recoup any tax that was due” in respect of the early retirement agreement.

They added that they had been instructed to “ensure that all steps are taken against you [Gordhan], including sequestration of your estate in order to recover the settlement amount as well as the tax liability”.

Sars on Thursday however, denied this, saying no such correspondence was sent to Gordhan.

The revenue sought to clarify what it had requested from Gordhan.

It said that on March 6 it asked the minister to assist in the disciplinary hearing by "sharing his knowledge with regard to legality or not of the establishment and administration of the rogue unit" and circumstances surrounding Pillay's early retirement package.

Sars said Gordhan responded on March 12 asking it to send him details of the person who instituted the disciplinary investigation into the unit as well as the role of the advisory board, chaired by Judge Frank Kroon.

Sars on March 18 responded to Gordhan's questions.

The revenue service said Gordhan then failed to respond to it and it had to follow-up with him on April 23.

"Notwithstanding Sars’ follow up, Mr Gordhan failed to respond," it said.

"It was only on May 7 2015, after well published resignations of both Mr Pillay and Richer, which led to the ceasing of the disciplinary processes between Mr Pillay, Mr Richer and Sars, did Mr Gordhan respond by contending that he will partake in the upcoming disciplinary hearing."

SARS said it informed Gordhan on May 8 that the matter had been settled and the disciplinary halted.

Gordhan has reportedly broken his silence over the SARS scandal, insisting that the establishment of the unit was entirely above board, and he did nothing wrong when he was commissioner.

Read Gordhan's full statement here

Read more on:    sars  |  pravin gordhan
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