So-called Sars rogue unit did exist, Mpofu tells Parly inquiry into Mkhwebane

Parliament has heard that a rogue investigative unit did exist within the South African Revenue Services (Sars) and former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay benefited fraudulently from its pension fund.

Advocate Dali Mpofu in the Pretoria Magistrates Court. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has heard that a rogue investigative unit did exist within the South African Revenue Services (Sars) and former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay benefited fraudulently from its pension fund.

These are the contentions made at Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s impeachment inquiry by her legal representative, Dali Mpofu.

Mpofu insisted that the court judgments were flawed in their findings on these matters.

Initially, Mkhwebane’s lawyer, Mpofu, questioned the relevance of the Public Protector’s report on Pillay’s early retirement to this inquiry.

"The retirement matter, as far as I’m concerned, is completely irrelevant to what is happening here," Mpofu said.

But later tempers flared, as Mpofu insisted that Pillay had swindled the pension fund with the help of then-commissioner, Pravin Gordhan.

"This was a Ponzi scheme with many members," Mpofu said.

"No, no, again you are just trying to throw your smears around," Pillay responded.

Mpofu also alleged that Pillay was the mastermind of an illegal spying unit operating within Sars.

"I will say again, the foundation of the unit was lawful. In so far as its activities were concerned, the Public Protector didn’t examine its activities, she didn’t interview a single person from the unit. And I deny I was involved in illegal activity," Pillay said.

Mpofu also alluded to Pillay’s appointment at Sars being unlawful, given his highest academic qualification was a matric certificate.