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SARS adamant about Pillay, Richer involvement

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The SA Revenue Service was adamant on Thursday that deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and head of strategic planning Peter Richer were instrumental in the establishment of the so-called “rogue” unit.

“It is common cause that Mr Pillay and Richer were in different degrees instrumental in the institutionalisation, establishment as well as the running of this unit,” Sars’s executive for employment relations, Luther Lebelo, said.

“Hence it is prudent and reasonably expected that as the head of the unit he be held responsible for the unit’s activities.”

He was responding to an article in Business Day earlier about the report on the investigation into the covert unit by Muzi Sikhakhane.

According to the paper, the report made no findings of wrongdoing nor recommended any action against Pillay and Richer.

The report, which Business Day had seen, only made mention of Richer once and he was not interviewed during the probe.

The report was handed to Sars commissioner Tom Moyane in November last year.

Lebelo on Thursday said that over and above the Sikhakhane panel, Sars had brought in an independent forensic institution and external senior counsel to further probe the findings.

On December 5, Pillay and Richer were suspended amid allegations of a special projects unit engaging in illegal activities in Sars.

Pillay’s suspension was overturned by the Labour Court in Johannesburg. However, earlier this month he was served with a second notice of suspension.

Last month, the dispute between Sars and Pillay was settled but he remained suspended. The dispute was with regard to the suspension on December 5 and was “amicably resolved” through conciliation at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Lebelo said the disciplinary process against Pillay was underway due to the findings of the two investigative services used by Sars. SAPA

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