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Intelligence committee to deal with letter about SARS 'crisis'

23 April 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Genevieve Quintal
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Author: Genevieve Quintal (News24)

Parliament's intelligence committee is dealing with a letter sent by former SA Revenue Service spokesperson Adrian Lackay, relating to the crisis facing the organisation.

Lackay electronically sent a 29-page letter to the joint standing committee on intelligence and the standing committee on finance on March 24, relating to events at SARS.

Standing committee on finance chairperson Yunus Carrim said on Wednesday: "Our committee is dealing with the consequences of the divisions within SARS on its performance and the role of the Judge Kroon Commission in this regard.

"The intelligence committee is dealing with the legal and other issues related to the role of the SARS intelligence unit and the Sikhakhane and Intelligence General reports."

In terms of this, Lackay's letter was being dealt with by the intelligence committee.

In the letter, Lackay claimed that from the period when commissioner Tom Moyane was appointed in September 2014, his role had been "diluted and eventually withdrawn".

"During the latter part of 2014 I was caused by the commissioner to issue statements to the media and it became apparent to me at a later stage that such public statements contained false and incorrect information," Lackay wrote in the letter.

"Key facts which I was in possession of or came to be aware of during the course of my time at SARS that relate to the matters at hand were being ignored deliberately, adapted to advance a particular narrative and which were used as basis to effectively muzzle, frustrate, victimise and suspend key officials in SARS."

Lackay claimed that he was also muzzled at SARS by the commissioner and was unable to make sure the public was aware of critical factors regarding the goings on at the revenue service.  

Lackay eventually resigned from SARS earlier this year.

Lackay's letter dealt with matters pertaining to the so-called "rogue" unit within SARS and the purging of top officials, such as deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and head of strategic planning Peter Richer, as well as the issues surrounding group executive Johann van Loggerenberg who eventually resigned.

In the letter, Lackay told the committees he thought it was in the interests of justice and the public that a true version of events at SARS were placed before the committee and that the committees should be apprised of what he believed to be at the heart of the ongoing matter.

Carrim said his committee would play its part.

"Of course, we’ll play our oversight role as defined by the law and parliamentary rules, but our committee cannot serve as a commission of inquiry or a court or a CCMA hearing."

At a meeting on Tuesday, senior parliamentary legal advisor advocate Frank Jenkins guided the committee on how to manage the process in terms of Parliament’s rules and the law, he said.

This article first appeared on news24.com.


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