SARS group executive accuses former spokesperson of lying under oath

2017-06-08 21:28
Adrian Lackay.  (Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24)

Adrian Lackay. (Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – The SA Revenue Service (SARS) group executive Luther Lebelo has accused former spokesperson Adrian Lackay of lying under oath when he testified that former chief operating officer Barry Hore faced criminal charges when he resigned. 

Lackay made pure factual inaccuracies under oath, Lebelo said during his last day of testimony at a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) hearing on Thursday.

Lackay has taken SARS to the CCMA for constructive dismissal. He is asking to be awarded a year’s salary. 

Lebelo, who is the first witness to be called by SARS, claimed that Hore was not charged upon his resignation.

He also added that the service's Human Resource's executive, Chani van Heerven, was also not charged because she lodged a complaint. Van Heerven was charged in relation to unauthorised payments, Lebelo said.

In January - Lackay testified that, after Tom Moyane was appointed as commissioner, he began suspending senior SARS officials, as well as the executive committee.

Lackay said that between September 2014 and March 2015, 55 senior managers left SARS, including former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and chief operating officer Hore.

Lackay had previously said he had found out that Hore had resigned, and that while he was serving his month's notice, SARS had pursued a disciplinary case against him.

'Deliberate lie' 

But Lebelo said Lackay’s testimony was a “deliberate lie” and that he [Lackay] wanted to tarnish SARS’ image.

“The inaccuracies are too glaring to be a human error, but deliberate lies intended to damage and tarnish both the SARS and Commissioner and fit into the widely misinformed narrative that SARS under Commissioner Moyane is falling apart.”

Lebelo said the service would brief its lawyers on whether or not to open a criminal case against Lackay for allegedly lying under oath, and a civil case for defamation of SARS.

Lackay had previously revealed a lot of what went on behind the scenes at SARS when Moyane first started the job in the midst of the onset of the rogue unit debacle in 2014 and 2015.

He had previously argued that his working conditions became unbearable amid allegations of the rogue unit's existence, and that he was forced to leave after it became untenable to associate with the goings-on at the revenue service.

Lackay revealed that not only did Moyane not fight back against the rogue unit allegations - he "tacitly approved them".

He also said that Moyane's right-hand man at the time [before he was suspended after it publicly emerged that there were suspicious transactions in his bank account], acting chief operating officer Jonas Makwakwa, said at a Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) meeting that Lackay was a problem in the communication department at SARS because he was denying that a rogue unit existed.

Claims rubbished

But on Tuesday, Lebelo rubbished the claims.

He said they went to the GCIS meeting to get guidance regarding problems they experienced with the media. He claimed that Moyane was under attack from the media.

Lebelo said at no point had anyone said Lackay was a "problem".

Lackay had also argued that Moyane changed offices, making himself inaccessible and that he [Lackay] was increasingly being left out of the loop on important events at SARS, such as the suspensions of deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, at a time when - as the spokesperson of the organisation - he was being bombarded with queries from the media.

Lebelo also testified that SARS’ former group executive Johann van Loggerenberg, who resigned in 2014, had allegedly confessed to his then girlfriend that he was running the so-called rogue unit.

The unit was apparently spying on people illegally, Lebelo said. In September 2014, Van Loggerenberg was placed on special leave pending a probe into alleged misconduct.

In November, Moyane reportedly formally suspended him.

The hearing continues. 

Read more on:    sars  |  adrian lackay  |  tom moyane  |  johannesburg  |  media

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