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Luther Lebelo claims Nugent Inquiry treating him like a criminal

An impassioned Lebelo accused the commission of ambushing him with questions he wasn't prepared for.

Senior Sars official Luther Lebelo at the Nugent commission of inquiry on 27 September 2018. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

PRETORIA - South African Revenue Service (Sars) executive Luther Lebelo has launched into a tirade accusing the Nugent Commission of Inquiry of treating him unfairly in an effort to tarnish his name.

At the hearings on Thursday, Lebelo claimed he had obtained legal advice that there was a strong case against deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, in relation to the so-called rogue unit matter.

But the evidence was produced which showed that despite an advocate advising that there was no case, Lebelo instructed that Pillay be charged anyway.

An impassioned Lebelo accused the commission of ambushing him with questions he wasn't prepared for.

“I thought the commission was meant for coming and sharing the evidence that you have at the time, you’re treated with trust and you’re trusted until proven otherwise. But I was treated like a criminal or a murderer in a court who must prove his innocence.”

But Judge Robert Nugent stepped in when Lebelo attacked evidence leader Carol Steinberg.

Lebelo said: “He was cross-examining me on behalf of Mr Pillay…”

But Nugent interjected and asked: “Why do you say that? I told you before that she will examine on my instructions. How can you make that allegation? I’m tired of these allegations simply being thrown out of gross impropriety and I’m getting a bit tired of it.”

Lebelo agreed to return in October to testify.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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