SARS ‘rogue unit’ officials to appear in court, after withdrawing urgent application

Three former South African Revenue Service (SARS) executives will be making their first appearance in a criminal court on charges of corruption next Tuesday, after they withdrew an urgent application seeking a stay of prosecution.

The three former executives – Ivan Pillay, Johann van Loggerenberg and Andries “Skollie” Janse van Rensburg – approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday for an order halting criminal proceedings.

They are accused of alleged involvement in the so-called SARS ‘rogue unit’. The trio was summonsed to appear in court on charges of corruption and the contravention of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA).

National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said that Pillay, Van Loggerenberg and Janse van Rensburg had withdrawn their application after they received the NPA’s answering affidavit.

The three had argued that the urgent application became necessary because the NPA had not considered representations on why they should not be prosecuted.

In an answering affidavit, Acting Deputy National Director of Public Prosecution Sibongile Mzinyathi said that NPA head Shaun Abrahams had every intention of considering the representations in the ordinary course.

“He has, at no time, indicated that he is not prepared to do so. Their representations will be considered. It is not feasible to complete the process before their first appearance,” Mzinyathi said in the answering affidavit.

READ MORE: ‘Rogue Unit’ makes an agreement with NPA, drops application

Mzinyathi said that, in his 33 years as a prosecutor, he had yet to see a single instance in which a court had deferred a first appearance, simply because representations were pending.

The NPA also dismissed the allegations of reputational harm, as such harm would have been incurred at the time the allegations against the applicants were raised.

“Nothing will change by virtue of a first appearance,” said Mzinyathi.

News24 previously reported that they had asked to be given an opportunity to submit representations to the NPA for consideration.

In the letter, which is dated March 12, they also questioned why warning statements had not been obtained prior to the NPA’s decision to prosecute, which they said was a procedural prerequisite.

They also asked why prosecutors had not insisted on obtaining the statements and wanted to know if the NPA and the NDPP were aware that they hadn’t done so.

The three are expected to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on April 9. – News24

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Alex Mitchley
Alex Mitchley
South African Journalist at News24

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