Another twist in the Sars rogue unit scandal

Reports say affidavits by two former top Sars officials implicate Ivan Pillay and others in spying on the NPA.

Officials who apparently worked with a rogue spy unit claim Pillay illegally bugged the phones of the NPA officers including former head Vusi Pikoli who was investigating Jackie Selebi in 2007. Picture: Sars.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Service (Sars) scandal has deepened with affidavits by two former top officials now implicating former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and others in spying on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The Sunday Times says the two members who apparently worked with a rogue spy unit claim Pillay illegally bugged the phones of the NPA officers including former head Vusi Pikoli who was investigating Jackie Selebi in 2007.

The newspaper is reporting that the affidavits from former officials Johan de Waal and Helgard Lombard have singled out Gerrie Nel and Andrew Leask as being responsible for procuring bugging equipment.

They are accused of spending R900,000 for this.

The exact motive of the operation code named 'Project Sunday Evenings' remains unclear.

However, the affidavits apparently reveal that former rogue unite head Andries Janse van Rensburg wanted the group to have the power to decide who will govern South Africa.

The bugging devices were procured for 12 NPA offices and boardrooms.

All implicated are yet to comment.

MORE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST PILLAY

Last week it emerged Pillay held a meeting at a prison in an attempt to be let off the hook for his involvement in the spy scandal that has rocked the revenue service.

The _Sunday Times _reported that it saw letters which reveal the former Sars official arranged to meet with Sars commissioner Tom Moyane in February at the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria.

The meeting was allegedly under the pretence that he would tender his resignation.

Reports suggested Pillay tried to negotiate a lucrative payout and asked for any investigations into his role in setting up the rogue unit to be scrapped.

When this failed he allegedly used his struggle connections including Mac Maharaj to try and clinch a deal.

President Jacob Zuma then asked his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa to negotiate with Moyane but the xenophobic violence which gripped South Africa delayed their meeting which was finally only held on Monday.

The paper said that two days later the Sars commissioner returned to Pretoria and immediately signed Pillay's settlement of R2.5 million- equivalent to 18 months' salary.