“I note in the statement the commissioner released to the media, he refers to unlawful conduct that was found by the Sikhakhane panel,” Pillay said in a statement.
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“I respectfully consider the panel to have erred in matters of law and fact and indeed I have indicated as much to the commissioner.”
The panel was appointed by Pillay.
Sars commissioner Tom Moyane announced on Friday that Pillay and group executive of strategic planning and risk Peter Richers had been suspended.
This followed the appointment of the panel to investigate allegations reported on in the media about Sars’s special projects unit and its alleged illegal activities.
“I have… decided to suspend the following two senior executives pending a disciplinary process in terms of the Sars disciplinary code and procedure, and applicable labour laws including the Labour Relations Act,” Moyane said in a statement.
However, Pillay said he served “with the pursuit of our democratic ideals,” during his time at Sars.
“I look forward to the opportunity to challenge any allegation against me of unlawful conduct, misconduct and impropriety based on Sars policies.
“I have always acted to advance and promote the spirit and goals of our Constitution and I have endeavoured to adhere to the prescripts of the laws that underpin the Constitution.”
Pillay said he would respond to the allegations against him at any formal forum chosen by Moyane.
Sars has been at the centre of reports over the last few weeks about an allegedly rogue intelligence unit that was set up in 2007.
Previously, the Sunday Times reported 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.
In September, then head of tax and customs investigations — who allegedly headed the unit at one time — Johann van Loggenberg, was placed on special leave pending a probe into allegations of misconduct.
In November, Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay urged that the investigation into the matter be allowed to complete its work, before further discussion, while the City Press newspaper reported that Moyane had formally suspended Van Loggenberg.
The Sunday Times published what is said what an extract of his notice of suspension that said he had been suspended in order to “provide for full investigations into allegations against you of irregularities, misconduct and bringing the organisation’s name and reputation into disrespect”.
The newspaper reported that Van Loggenberg denied all allegations against him.