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Freedom Under Law: Suspend Shaun Abrahams over groundless allegations against SARS trio

National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams. / Alon Skuy
National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams. / Alon Skuy

Freedom Under Law (FUL) said the renewed allegations against three former South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials are as groundless as those of 2016 and will suffer the same fate.

The legal justice organisation has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspending National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams and two senior colleagues.

On Friday‚ the Hawks served summons on Ivan Pillay‚ Johann van Loggerenberg and Andries Janse van Rensburg to appear before the Pretoria Regional Court on April 9.

TimesLIVE reported on Friday that the charges could be related to an alleged payment of R100‚000 to “rogue unit whistle-blower” and fellow SARS employee Hendrick Lombard.

Freedom Under Law said that 18 months ago Abrahams and the NPA suffered a public humiliation when their highly-publicised charges against former SARS officials and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan had to be abandoned.

The organisation said the NPA was faced with clear refuting evidence of which it ought to have been aware of at the time.

FUL chairman Judge Johann Kriegler said KPMG had since repudiated its so-called “forensic report” on which the allegations against Gordhan and former SARS officials were largely based.

Kriegler said that once again‚ the NPA had seen fit to revive the “rogue unit” fable‚ levelling charges linked to the unit dating back to about 2008.

“Freedom Under Law is convinced that the current allegations against three former South African Revenue Service officials are as groundless as those of 2016 and will suffer the same fate‚” Kriegler said.

He said although Pillay and Van Loggerenberg had throughout been willing to co-operate‚ these new charges had been presented without any inquiry‚ forewarning or opportunity to make representations.

Kriegler said this was in such contrast to the courtesies accorded others that there was every reason to question the motive behind these renewed allegations.

“Freedom Under Law is consequently writing to the President (Cyril Ramaphosa) urging him to consider suspending Adv Abrahams and his senior colleagues Dr Torie Pretorius and Adv Sibongile Mzinyathi forthwith.”

In a statement issued through lawyers on Friday evening‚ Pillay‚ Van Loggerenberg and Janse van Rensburg said they “emphatically deny” the allegations against them.

“Van Loggerenberg‚ Pillay and Janse van Rensburg will be writing to the NPA to seek an opportunity for them to make representations‚” the statement read.

The trio said the summons related to a controversial KPMG report on the “rogue unit”.

“The KPMG report has since been thoroughly discredited and KPMG itself has withdrawn the conclusions‚ findings and recommendations. KPMG and its auditors are now the subject of investigations by IRBA [Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors] and SAICA [South African Institute of Chartered Accountants]‚” the statement read.

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