Three SARS Spy Unit Bosses Get R8.5m In Restraint-Of-Trade Agreements


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is said to have paid the sum of R8.5m to three of its former executives who left during the furor over the “rogue” spy unit.

The above-mentioned amount was paid in restraint-of-trade settlements to the three former executives who were implicated in the setting up of the investigative unit, suspended in December 2014 and resigned in May last year after a long disciplinary inquiry and their terms of packages were not disclosed at the time.

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According to reports, the former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay was paid R3.9m and group executive for strategic planning Peter Richter R3.77m.

The annual report of the tax authority tabled in Parliament on Wednesday revealed that an additional R858,723 was paid in a six-month restraint-of-trade settlement with the former head of tax and customs enforcement Gene Ravele, who resigned in May 2015 ahead of a threatened suspension, also related to the investigative unit, business day live reported.

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan had prior to the time of the report in the parliament, noted that the revenue  service unit, SARS was very respected, but this could not be taken for granted.

“The public and various stakeholders are today fast losing trust in government and the private sector elite,” the minister said.

“Leaders of institutions need to be extraordinarily careful not to compromise the good standing and integrity of institutions in the pursuit of mistaken aims,” he added, pointing out that there was a fear that taxpayers would refuse to pay their dues.

Minister Gordhan further pointed out that SARS had to be at its best in showcasing the highest level of integrity, ethical leadership and visible fairness to sustain public confidence in its work.

The annual report revealed that the revenue service unit accumulated an outstanding debt of R96.4bn at its March year-end, with R66.6bn of this established debt and R29.7bn uncertain.

Out of the outstanding debt, R25bn was due by companies, R17bn by individuals, R29bn by VAT vendors and R8bn for pay as year earn.

It noted that last year it had completed eight transfer-pricing audits raising R791m in taxes. Altogether, 81 audits of high net worth individuals were conducted yielding additional tax revenue of R225m.

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Meanwhile, SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, who has not been in good terms with Gordhan since his appointment, appreciated the finance minister for his support and leadership.

“The support and strong working relationship between SARS and the National Treasury is also crucial — long may this continue!”

Under the voluntary disclosure programme, 1,946 new applications were received and R2.2bn was paid.