The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has dropped charges laid against investigative journalist Jacques Pauw, Politics Web reports. This comes after being charged with publishing confidential information in his book The President’s Keepers, which came out in October last year.
Publishing house NB Publishers was told that acting commissioner Mark Kingon considered the litigation affair ill-fated, and that he will be working towards restoring the public’s confidence in SARS.
SARS filed papers in the Western Cape High Court against Pauw last year, alleging that content in his book violated the Intelligence Services Act by disclosing confidential taxpayers’ information.
An affidavit attached to the motion by then-SARS boss Tom Moyane quotes from about 15 pages of the book that contravene the act. These include payments made to President Jacob Zuma and Edward Zuma. It also included Pauw’s revelations about Cape gangster Mark Liffman and others owing SARS hundreds of millions of rand.
Moyane said the declaratory order sought was necessary because of the “importance and magnitude of the contravention”.
After receiving the news on Friday, Pauw told News24 that he suspected the charges would be dropped after Moyane’s departure, and was adamant that he was never afraid of any litigation.
Pauw’s guesthouse, The Red Tin Roof in Riebeek Kasteel, about an hour’s drive outside Cape Town, was searched by the Hawks in February for any “confidential information” in his possession.
The search proved unsuccessful, and Pauw told confused officers that everything was in the “cloud”.
Amidst the charges laid against him, Pauw said he felt it was an admission that the revelations contained in his book were true: “It is not an attack on the credibility of the book but is confirmation of the credibility of the book”.