SARS suspends two senior officers

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FILE image of SARS Head Office in Brooklyn, Pretoria?. Picture: SARS

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy SA Revenue Service&39;s commissioner Ivan Pillay and group executive of strategic planning and risk Peter Richers have been suspended, the revenue service announced on Friday.
 
"I, as an accounting officer of SARS and in terms of the powers afforded to me by the SARS Act, concluded to suspend and cause disciplinary proceedings to be undertaken against those employees who have been implicated in the report," Sars commissioner Tom Moyane said in a statement.
 
Following media allegations against some of senior officials Pillay appointed a panel to investigate the existence and truthfulness of the allegations, he said.
 
Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, SC, together with a panel of senior advocates were tasked with investigating the allegations.
 
On November 16, it was reported that Moyane halted his executive committee&39;s advisory duties.
 
The Sunday Times reported that Moyane had elected to rather deal with the various managers on an individual basis.
 
Sars has been at the center of reports over the last few weeks about an allegedly rogue intelligence unit that was set up in 2007.
 
Previously, the Sunday Times reported allegations that the unit had been involved in setting up a brothel in Durban as a cover for officials working from home, had spied on a wide range of people, including taxi hit men, drug lords, cigarette and abalone smugglers, Sars officials and politicians, and that some Sars officials were infiltrated into the ANC as bodyguards.
 
In September, then head of tax and customs investigations -- who allegedly headed the unit at one time -- Johann van Loggenberg, was placed on special leave pending a probe into allegations of misconduct.
 
In November, Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay urged that the investigation into the matter be allowed to complete its work, before further discussion, while the City Press newspaper reported that Monyane had formally suspended Van Loggenberg.
 
The Sunday Times published what is said what an extract of his notice of suspension that said he had been suspended in order to "provide for full investigations into allegations against you of irregularities, misconduct and bringing the organisation&39;s name and reputation into disrespect".
 
The newspaper reported that Van Loggenberg denied all allegations against him.