SARS 'blackmailed' by spy over rogue operation at Zuma's home
A former spy-master has reportedly blackmailed SARS into paying him R3m not to spill the beans.
JOHANNESBURG - It's being reported that a former spy-master reportedly blackmailed the South African Revenue Service (SARS) into paying him R3 million to keep silent about how its rogue intelligence unit broke into President Jacob Zuma's home and planted listening devices.
The Sunday Times is reporting that Zuma was unemployed at the time of the bugging in Johannesburg, having been fired as deputy president.
The newspaper says the president was in the running for the African National Congress (ANC) presidency and had just been acquitted on a rape charge when the rogue unit planted the bugs in his Forest Town home.
The spy-master, known as 'Skollie' was the head of SARS's covert Special Projects Unit, which was later renamed the National Research Group.
The unit specialised in penetrating crime syndicates engaged in smuggling drugs, rhino horn and ivory.
However the unit is now the subject of three separate investigations by the office of the inspector general of intelligence, the Hawks and SARS itself.
The newspaper says there's also evidence that the unit illegally intercepted the emails and phone calls of taxpayers, and that SARS flouted its own policies to secretly recruit agents to spy.