National 19.9.2016 06:59 am

New book blows dust off Sars ‘havoc plot’

South African minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan| Supplied

South African minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan| Supplied

A report that details a plot to destabilising the revenue service has gathered dust since 2009, but a new book aims to ensure the truth is not lost.

Project Broken Arrow, a report detailing “organised efforts” to “destabilise, disorganise and ultimately create havoc and damage” within the SA Revenue Service (Sars), has been gathering dust since 2009.

Addressed to former Sars executives Ivan Pillay and Johan van Loggerenberg, the report details how former Sars employee Mike Peega – since arrested for rhino poaching – approached employees within Sars in order to discredit the two, and ultimately then commissioner and now Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

“The allegations pertaining to Broken Arrow/Snowman were formally addressed to the SAPS and the National Intelligence Agency – later the State Security Agency (SSA) – annually, requesting that those implicated be investigated,” van Loggerenberg told The Citizen.

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“Year after year, these issues were openly raised with both the SAPS and the SSA. Sars never received any formal response in this regard from either of these institutions.”

These, and other claims, are detailed in Van Loggerenberg’s book, Rogue, which hits bookstores today.

Asked about why he and former Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay wrote the book, Van Loggerenberg said:

“My ultimate aim was three-fold and that I’ve achieved. It’s enough for me:

“1. The narrative which sought to tie Mr Gordhan to the unit is nonsense and that had to be told because of the wider implications for our country.

“2. Many people, including Messrs Pillay, Richer, the unit members and their families and friends, were humiliated, scandalised, made out to be corrupt and untrustworthy as part of a consistent, long, drawn-out, orchestrated campaign. None was ever heard, given a right of reply or the opportunity to state the facts. This book tries to do so within the limitations imposed. Their names must be cleared. I say in the book that I promised the unit members, if it’s the last thing I do in my life, I will make sure their story is told.

“3. Massive corruption, abuse of state power, genuine capturing of law enforcement agency officials to advance commercial and personal interests were swept under the carpet throughout the ordeal. This must come out. The country has a right to know. Taxpayers must know how much was lost as a result of these shenanigans. Hopefully, this will cause the Hawks, NPA and Sars to broaden the scope of their narrow pursuit of a few, to delve into the broader issues and what lies underneath. Some of that is now in the open. So society can hold them to account to ensure that they look into these issues. Any failure on their part to do so will simply prove the perception that their ‘investigations’ are partisan and a witch-hunt.”

The cover of Van Loggerenberg's book.

The cover of Van Loggerenberg’s book.

Pillay’s submission to the 2014 Sikhakhane Panel also mentions Broken Arrow. The report is also attached to Pillay’s Labour Court action when he was fighting his suspension over the “rogue unit” debacle.

“A Sars whistle-blower approached Van Loggerenberg and Pillay and informed them of a particular meeting and interactions between Peega and former and current Sars personnel where it was planned to use this dossier and other information to discredit Sars, at all costs.  The whistle-blower provided a report to this effect entitled ‘Broken Arrow’,” the report states.

Attached as an annexure to the submission, it lists Sars’ former and deceased chief operating officer Leonard Radebe – who resigned after his links with Dave King and Glenn Agliotti came to light, controversial businessman Mabheleni Ntuli and Bizoski Manyike, a National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union Gauteng representative, as allegedly being involved in the plot to destabilise Sars.

It was a spectacularly effective action, having seen off Pillay, Van Loggerenberg, Lackay, and strategic planning head Peter Richter, among many others.

Promoted to minister of finance, Gordhan almost escaped the furore until current tax boss Tom Moyane opened the case against Pillay, Van Loggerenberg and Gordhan now being investigated by the Hawks.

Van Loggernberg said he had provided forensic auditors KPMG with the report, which among others things pointed “clearly to numerous efforts over the years to discredit Sars and some of its officials”.

“Why neither the Sikhakhane Panel, Kroon board or KPMG thought these facts relevant to their ‘findings’ can perhaps be better explained by them or Sars.”

And still, Project Broken Arrow continues to gather dust.

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