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Sars head studying reports on ‘rogue unit’

Tom Moyane studying two reports into allegations of illegal spying at the organisation.

The SA Revenue Service on Sunday confirmed that its commissioner Tom Moyane was studying two reports into allegations of illegal spying at the organisation.

“The Sars commissioner has indicated that he is studying the findings of both reports and will, in consultations with the minister of finance, make the report of the Sikhakhane Panel public, in due course,” said Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay.

He said that Moyane had received the reports – one from the inspector general for intelligence services and the other from an independent panel of investigation, headed by advocate Muzi Sikhakhane – in early November.

Previously Lackay said that the panel, established in September, had been tasked to investigate “whether there were breaches in law from the actions of any current or former Sars officials, including the illegal interception and monitoring of communications”.

Sars has been at the centre of reports about an allegedly rogue intelligence unit that was set up in 2007.

Over the past few weeks, the Sunday Times has reported on allegations that the unit had been involved in setting up a brothel in Durban as a cover for officials working from home, had spied on a wide range of people, including taxi hitmen, druglords, cigarette and abalone smugglers, Sars officials and politicians, and that some Sars officials were infiltrated into the ANC as bodyguards.

On Sunday, Sars also confirmed that Moyane had suspended the role of the executive committee as an advisory body to the commissioner.

However it declined to comment in detail on a report by the City Press newspaper that Moyane had formally suspended Johan van Loggenberg – apparently the head of the intelligence unit at one stage – this week.

“Mr Van Loggenberg is a Sars employee and, by law enjoys rights to privacy and confidentiality in any matters related to his employment,” said Sars on Sunday.

Loggenberg was placed on special leave in September, pending a probe into allegations of misconduct.

According to the Sunday Times newspaper, Loggenberg has denied all allegations against him.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said in a statement that it would request Moyane appear before the finance portfolio committee to table the report.

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