'I have seen and touched the spying equipment used by the rogue unit' – Moyane

Former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane has weighed in on the so-called rogue unit, which he said several investigators found to be established illegally and performed illegal activities.

Moyane on Saturday tweeted that he wanted to provide clarity on why he lodged a criminal complaint about the so-called rogue unit. In a word document titled 'The SARS Rogue Unit and Project Sunday Evenings', which Moyane posted on Twitter, he laid out a sequence of events which led to him launching the criminal case.

Moyane also confirmed to Fin24 by phone on Sunday that he posted the document on his Twitter account.

As far back as April/May 2015, Moyane said he was approached by two SARS employees who demanded to speak to him urgently. "They were a bit belligerent and in a high state of panic," he said of the employees.

Moyane said they confessed to illegally installing 15 "state of the art, needle pin size" cameras in the offices of the SA Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority, on the instructions of their manager. Moyane said the employees were given R1.15m by an official from the Scorpions for the installation.

The content from the cameras would be downloaded and transcribed every Sunday evening, in what became known as "Project Sunday evenings". Moyane said the employees provided him proof of illegal recordings and confirmed illegal spying activities of "prominent" South Africans. "They further said that the plan was to control and decide who wins the internal ANC elections in Polokwane between former presidents, Mr Zuma and Mbeki," Moyane added.

After seeking legal advice, Moyane said he was advised to open a criminal case with the police.

"I have seen and touched the spying equipments (sic) such as cellphone hammers and others used by the rogue unit," Moyane said.

"I thought it was wise that I put this on record and dispel this nefarious and maliciously falsified narrative. This (sic) actions and others that I will share with you in time intensified the fight against me, but it's okay," he said.

Rogue Unit

As for his thoughts on the rogue unit, Moyane said that several panels of investigators including Advocate Sikhakhane, SARS' advisory board and the Public Protector have found that SARS illegally established the unit which also performed illegal activities like spying on on citizens. "That Rogue Unit existed in SARS and committed illegal activities," he said.

However, Moyane did not mention the findings of Judge Robert Nugent's commission of inquiry into SARS.

Nugent said that allegations of the unit was not the primary focus of the inquiry, but he considered the unit in the commission's final report handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa in December 2018.

"I have not yet found why the creation and existence of the unit was said to have been unlawful, which is how it was consistently and uncritically depicted.

"I find no reason why the establishment and existence of the unit was indeed unlawful, and I am supported in that by an opinion given to Mr Moyane by leading senior counsel in late 2015. As far as I am aware that opinion has never been publicly disclosed. It might be that some of the activities of one or more of its six members was unlawful but that is something else," Nugent said of the rogue unit.

Meanwhile, Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan – who was SARS commissioner at the time the rogue unit was established – is seeking a review of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings that the establishment of the unit was unlawful.

Ramaphosa has also filed a supporting affidavit to Gordhan's application. Gordhan wants the court to set aside Mkhwebane's remedial orders. Former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay is seeking his own review of Mkhwebane's report, he associates with the points raised by Gordhan and has made additionl points in his application Fin24 reported previously.

EFF leader Julius Malema has in turn filed an application for the courts to dismiss Gordhan's application with costs. The EFF had originally lodged the complaint about the rogue unit with the Public Protector.


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