19 December 2017

South Africa: SARS' Court Application Against Pauw 'Conceded the Truth' - NB Publishers

The South African Revenue Service's decision to file a High Court application against investigative journalist Jacques Pauw, confirms that the contents of his book The President's Keepers are correct, said NB publishers.

SARS has "conceded the truth of the parts in the book it names in the application", the publisher told News24 on Tuesday.

In his book, Pauw alleges that President Jacob Zuma received monthly payments of R1m from controversial tender mogul Roy Moodley without declaring it to SARS.

In light of this, the revenue service filed papers in the Western Cape High Court against Pauw, saying that he published confidential information in his book.

Although the papers were not served on NB Publishers, it said it would defend Pauw and the book "vigorously" against SARS commissioner Tom Moyane's application.

"There is clear and compelling public interest in The President's Keepers revealing that President Jacob Zuma has perverted the law enforcement agencies of this country to hide the fact that he is not tax compliant and that he received a salary from Roy Moodley's company while in office".

Contravening the Tax Administration Act

Moyane argued in his affidavit that Pauw revealed taxpayer information in his book, which was in contravention of the Tax Administration Act.

He gave several examples of the claims made in Pauw's book which disclose taxpayer information, including that the book had alleged that a security company, owned by a Natasha Frezer, owed the service almost R4m in unpaid taxes.

He also mentioned that chapter five of the book stated that:

- Johann van Loggerenberg and his investigators had "discovered something explosive about President Jacob Zuma and his family";

- that "Azeem Amodcarm is a tobacco smuggler who was involved in payments to Zuma family members" and that "SARS has spreadsheets of the payments"; and

- that "lots of Zuma's cronies were taken on by SARS..."

These are just some of the examples mentioned.

Declaratory order to pay costs

Moyane asked that Pauw be ordered to pay costs should he oppose SARS' application.

"Such declaratory orders are imperative in order to give confidence to the public knowing that taxpayer information would not be willy-nilly disclosed by third parties who have no authority to be in possession of such information and to disclose it without consequences," Moyane said.

After the book was launched in October, the State Security Agency (SSA) sent two cease and desist letters to the publishers to get the book withdrawn from the shelves.

The SSA alleged that the book contained parts that are in contravention of the Intelligence Services Act.

The book is currently still being distributed.

Last month, Pauw and investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh, who have both written about alleged corrupt relationships involving Zuma, were summoned to a meeting at a police station, News24 previously reported.

KwaZulu-Natal police bosses removed Colonel Reuben Govender as the investigating officer from the case.

The police informed the lawyer acting on behalf of the journalists that Govender had been removed from the case and that they would no longer have to report to the Durban North police station.

It was reported that the investigating officer, who obtained warrants of arrest for the pair and the magistrate who signed off on them, were under investigation for possible misconduct.


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