Former Sars executives say they were vilified
JOHANNESBURG - Following the Pretoria Magistrate's Court release of former SARS executives on warnings after they were summoned to court on Monday for alleged corruption and contravention of the Rica Act, the three have spoken out on the matter.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, the trio, through their lawyer, a Mr Bernard Hotz of Werksmans Attorneys said their appearance at the Pretoria Regional Court today is the latest instance in the campaign to harass and vilify them in order to protect malfeasance in government.
Ivan Pillay (64)‚ Johann van Loggerenberg (49) and Andries Janse van Rensburg (53) said that their appearance was the latest instance in a campaign to "harass and vilify them."
The trio claim that the current charges against them were preceded by an 'abortive' attempt to prosecute Messrs Pravin Gordhan, Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula in October 2016.
"That attempt was preceded by a disinformation campaign in the media to which spurious investigations and innuendo about our involvements in an alleged “South African Revenue Services ( SARS) rogue unit” were leaked at regular intervals. The prosecution against Gordhan and others was thwarted when it was revealed that the DPCI/Hawks had withheld exculpatory evidence from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)," the statement read.
"The criminal charges against us are no different. The NPA has decided to charge us with the same criminal complaint laid by the suspended Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Mr Tom Moyane, who instructed the now-discredited KPMG investigation. As they hadn’t in 2016, we were never asked to complete warning statements in respect of the charges we now face, more than 18 months later, despite the clear obligation on the State to have done so, in terms of the NPA Prosecutions Policy."
In the statement, the trio accused the NPA of not offering them a chance to make representations to them [NPA] until after the summons was served and, "only acceded to this after we had to ask for such - a privilege they seem to have reserved for others."
"We contend, without reservation, that the charges we are accused of are eminently contestable. This prosecution is an abuse of authority by the NPA and is not aimed at advancing the rule of law, so prized in our constitution. It is about delaying or preventing the restoration of good governance to our state institutions. It is driven by ulterior motives of certain individuals at the NPA, Hawks and formerly at SARS"
The trio said they would continue to avail themselves to assist the prosecution authority to reach a just and equitable resolution of the matter, " we place our faith in the integrity of the judicial process in the country, despite these considerations. "
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE