Stakes raised in battle for SARS – Ivan Pillay faces another suspension

Stakes have been raised a couple notches in the battle for control of the SA Revenue Services. The Sunday Times newspaper was the preferred recipient of “information” around an allegedly illegally-constituted investigations unit at SARS. Today the newspaper reports that SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, who won his court case against suspension last week, is back in the firing line. In her joining of the dots, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has accused SA President Jacob Zuma of strong-arming puppets into SARS to protect himself and his allies from prosecution on tax evasion. A long list of investigations into those close to Zuma were cancelled soon after new commissioner Tom Moyane was appointed. – AH

From the SA Press Association:

Ivan PillayThe SA Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay faced suspension again, a day after he was reinstated, the Sunday Times reported.

Pillay was reportedly handed the suspension notice on Friday and was given until January 12 to say why he should not be suspended.

On Thursday, the Labour Court in Johannesburg ordered that Pillay be reinstated after he was suspended.

The suspension followed his appointment of a panel to investigate allegations reported in the media about a special projects unit and its alleged illegal activities at Sars.

The newspaper reported that Pillay had to be suspended because there was a danger that he could tamper with evidence during the investigation, which he had allegedly done before.

Pillay faced various allegations including that he was instrumental in setting up a covert intelligence unit within Sars despite knowing that it was unconstitutional, it reported.

He reportedly brought Sars into disrepute by “authorising, or failing to prevent, rogue behaviour by those employed to conduct unlawful operations”.

The weekly reported that Pillay fraudulently contrived his early retirement for financial gain and had incurred wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

On December 5, Sars commissioner Tom Moyane announced the suspension of Pillay and strategic planning and risk group executive Peter Richer.

On Wednesday, Pillay and Richer approached the Labour Court to have their suspensions overturned.

Richer reached a settlement with Sars and his suspension was withdrawn.

On Thursday, Judge Annelie Basson ruled that Pillay’s suspension be lifted.

“The suspension of the applicant is unlawful on the basis that constitutes a breach of his contract of employment,” she said.

“[Sars] is directed to uplift the applicant’s suspension with immediate effect.”

She ordered that Pillay return to work on the next working day following the date of the order.

Sars was also ordered to pay costs. – SAPA