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Press Ombudsman rules against 'Sunday Times' in Sars ‘rogue unit’ matter

The newspaper has been ordered to unconditionally apologise to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Press Ombudsman has delivered a scathing judgement against the _Sunday Times _newspaper for its reporting on the so-called rogue unit in the South African Revenue Service, saying it was unfair and inaccurate.

The newspaper has been ordered to unconditionally apologise to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in an above-the-fold article on page two, with a headline on page one.

The minister took the newspaper to the ombudsman after it ran an article saying there were calls for Gordhan to be investigated, after he was accused of knowing about the unit by forensic auditing firm KPMG.

This week Gordhan once again lashed out at KPMG and the leaked report on the rogue unit - saying the firm did not produce any facts.

Now the press ombudsman has ordered the Sunday Times to apologise to the minister for not providing him with a summary of the report or giving him enough time to respond when asked to comment on it.

It's also been ordered to publish Gordhan's comments about the unit, specifically his denial of knowing about illegal activities conducted by it.

The newspaper claimed the KPMG report stated Gordhan must have known about the unit, which was allegedly used to spy on high profile politicians.