Ex-SARS 'rogue unit' execs want summonses withdrawn

Cape Town - The legal representatives of Ivan Pillay, Johann van Loggerenberg and Andries Janse van Rensburg - three ex-South African Revenue Service (SARS) executives, who allegedly played a role in the so-called "rogue unit", have written to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) requesting that summonses against them be withdrawn.

They also want an opportunity to submit representations to the NPA for consideration.

The three were on Friday issued summonses to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on April 9 on charges of corruption and contravention of the RICA Act.

READ: Ex-SARS execs to write to NPA following summonses over corruption charges

News24 is in possession of the letter Werkmans Attorneys has written to the NPA and NPA boss Shaun Abrahams, dated March 12, in which the three deny the allegations against them.

"Our clients have every reason to believe that the decision to prosecute them ought to be reconsidered and will result in a decision not to prosecute them if they are afforded such an opportunity," the letter reads.

Werkmans Attorneys questioned why no warning statement had been obtained from their clients prior to the decision by the NPA to prosecute, which it said was a procedural prerequisite.

It also questioned why prosecutors at the NPA had not insisted on obtaining these statements, further asking if the NPA and the National Director of Public Prosecutions were aware that these had not been sought.

In the letter, the legal representatives pointed out that the NPA’s prosecution policy imposed an obligation on the NPA to assess whether there was enough admissible evidence to "provide a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution".

It further quoted that the "version of the defence of an accused person must also be considered, before a decision is made".

On Friday, Werksmans Attorneys director Bernard Hotz - who is representing Pillay, Van Loggerenberg and Janse van Rensburg – "emphatically [denied]" the allegations against his clients.

The Hawks have been investigating the former SARS High Risk Investigation Unit, as well as former SARS commissioner Pravin Gordhan, for allegedly taking part in illegal interceptions and spying.

The investigation has been fraught with allegations that it was being used as a political tool against Gordhan. 

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