Former Sars executives off the hook as court withdraws ‘rogue’ charges
Ivan Pillay, Andries Janse van Rensburg and Johann van Loggerenberg were implicated in setting up an illegal unit to spy on taxpayers
Former SA Revenue Services (Sars) employees who were implicated in the so-called rogue unit on Monday welcomed the decision to withdraw the charges against them.
The charges against Ivan Pillay, Andries Janse van Rensburg and Johann van Loggerenberg were officially withdrawn in the high court in Pretoria on Monday. The three were accused of having set up an illegal unit within Sars — the “rogue unit” — to spy on taxpayers. Pillay and Van Loggerenberg had also been charged with contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
“Our clients, Ivan Pillay, Johann van Loggerenberg, and Andries Janse van Rensburg, welcome the decision ... to formally withdraw the criminal charges against them,” said Werksmans Attorneys.
“As private citizens, our clients will continue to work with civil society to combat illicit money flows and to restore integrity to state institutions,” the law firm said.
The charges against them were laid in 2015 and the three were served with criminal summonses on March 8 2018. Their trial faced numerous delays because of disputes relating to access to the docket and these issues were only resolved in February 2019. After submitting thousands of pages of representations in October 2019, the office of the National Prosecuting Authority boss, advocate Shamila Batohi, last week announced it was withdrawing the charge, citing a lack of evidence.
“After a careful assessment of the evidence and other relevant material, the unanimous conclusion of the panel in respect of all counts is that there are no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution. The panel recommends that all charges against the accused be withdrawn,” Batohi’s office said in a statement.
The three former accused, who have battled the case for years, said they would be prepared to do so again should the need arise. “Our clients remain resolute to challenge any legal proceedings against them through the channels and in the manner provided for in the constitution and general law,” Werksmans said.