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Spooks & smokes: Details of Sars inquiry released

Sars has now released the full inquiry report into the spy unit and the role of Johann van Loggerenberg.

FILE: Sars building. Picture: Sars

JOHANNESBURG - Details of how Belinda Walter was a spy while a practicing attorney, of the conflict between secret agents and democracy and of how South African Revenue Service (Sars) agents were asked to pose as drivers for Fikile Mbalula and Julius Malema have emerged in a report into the rogue spy unit at Sars.

Sars has now released the full report of the Sikhakhane Panel of Inquiry that investigated the spy unit and the role of former Sars investigator Johann van Loggerenberg.

Van Loggerenberg has since left Sars, but Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay is still on suspension over his role in setting up the unit.

The Sikhakhane report says Walters testified how she set up an organisation of smaller tobacco companies to infiltrate them for the State Security Agency.

It also explains that while several members of this unit were asked to pose as drivers for Mbalula and Malema, it hasn't been explained what that project was actually for.

The document goes on to say that while this unit used intelligence operatives who were useful to Sars, those operatives also altered the very nature of what should be a civilian structure.

Central to the unit was Van Loggerenberg; the report says there is prima facie evidence the group had the potential of undermining legitimate state agencies.

FORMER INVESTIGATOR RESPONDS

Van Loggerenberg has told Eyewitness News he believes the panel has relied on unsubstantiated information in its findings against him.

He believes the panel has failed to consider key submissions and failed to call material persons to make submissions to it.

He also says it is disturbing that the Sars advisory board headed by Judge Frank Kroon appears to have followed the panel's lead and that he is currently considering his legal options.