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Sars decline to comment on bugging report

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The SA Revenue Service (Sars) declined to comment on reports on Sunday that it had bugged President Jacob Zuma’s private Johannesburg home.

“Sars will not comment on the Sunday Times news reports,” spokesman Adrian Lackay said.

“They contain serious factual inaccuracies.”

According to the Sunday Times a former spy master blackmailed Sars into paying him R3 million to keep silent about how its intelligence unit broke into Zuma’s Forest Town home in Johannesburg, and planted listening devices.

At the time Zuma was unemployed after he had been fired as deputy president. He was in the running for the African National Congress presidency and had just been acquitted on a rape charge.

The spy master, known as “Skollie”, whose real name was reportedly known to the Sunday Times, was the head of Sars’s special projects unit, later renamed the national research group.

The unit was established in 2007 when Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan was the commissioner at Sars.

The newspaper said it had seen documents and spoken to Sars officials on condition of anonymity who claimed that the unit intercepted a meeting between Zuma and Sars executive at the time Leonard Radebe at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban ahead of the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference. SAPA

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