Two top taxmen quit amid SARS 'rogue unit' scandal

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) released a terse statement on Thursday morning confirming the resignations of Ivan Pillay and Peter Richer with “immediate effect“.

The entity also revealed that disciplinary charges against both men had been withdrawn.

 “SARS acknowledges and appreciates the contribution of Mr Pillay and Mr Richer during their years of service in SARS and wishes them all the best in their future endeavours. All charges and related investigations have been withdrawn. SARS reserves all its rights‚” it said.

SARS said it accepted their resignations‚ and characterised the departures as “amicable“.

Pillay‚ the deputy commissioner‚ and Richer‚ the head of strategic planning and risk‚ had been facing a disciplinary hearing chaired by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo.

Business Day reported earlier this month thay Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan‚ a former SARS commissioner‚ was among 30 people likely to be called to answer questions at the disciplinary hearing.

Gordhan was commissioner when a covert unit was set up. It has been found to be “unlawful” by an advisory board headed by Judge Frank Kroon‚ who had endorsed the findings of a panel headed by Muzi Sikhakhane‚ which was the basis for the suspension of Pillay and Richer .

It had been hoped that Gordhan’s participation in the disciplinary hearing may have shed light on the events that led to the creation of the unit.

Former SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay is also facing censure for a letter he wrote to Parliament about the unit. In his letter‚ he raised concerns over the fact that SARS sought to muzzle those who did not agree that the contentious unit was illegal.

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