NPA agrees to give SARS trio access to docket in 'Sunday Evenings' case

Former employees face charges relating to mysterious project that involved installation of covert bugs

NPA blinks, agrees to give SARS trio access to docket in 'Sunday Evenings' case

12 September 2018

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has agreed to provide access to the entire docket surrounding the "Sunday Evenings" matter after months of refusing to do so.

Former South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials Ivan Pillay, Andries Janse van Rensburg and Johann van Loggerenberg withdrew their application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court for parts B and C of the docket on Wednesday after NPA prosecutors agreed to give them access.

Part C was handed to the trio's attorneys on Monday and they will be allowed to view part B under strict conditions on October 2. But part B will not be handed over, and they will not be allowed to make any copies.

The case has been postponed to November 8.

The former SARS employees face charges relating to "Sunday Evenings", a mysterious project that involved the installation of covert bugs in 2007 at the now dismantled Scorpions and NPA head offices in Silverton, Pretoria.

The installations were conducted by now suspended SARS employee, Helgard Lombard, who has turned State's witness in the case.

Complete turnaround

Pillay and Van Loggerenberg are accused of "unauthorised gratification by a party to an employment relationship" for allegedly allowing Lombard to "keep" R100 000 from the installation project.

Pillay, along with Janse van Rensburg, is also charged with contraventions of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Transactions Act.

Part A of the docket contains the official complaint, while part B has reports and memorandums‚ and part C the investigation diary.

The State had previously - in court - agreed to hand over the full docket, but only handed over an incomplete part A, refusing to hand over parts B and C, arguing it had only agreed to hand over part A.

This sparked the interlocutory application by the accused for access to the entire docket.

But prosecutors have now done a complete turnaround, after the matter came before court on three previous occasions.

Matter likely to go to High Court

The application for parts B and C of the docket to be handed over by the State was set down to be heard in court on August 24 but was postponed after a late application was brought by prosecutors on the day before the court appearance.

In August the State argued that the removal of former National Director for Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams and the hospitalisation of Torie Pretorious, one of the prosecutors on the case, had hampered its ability to file papers timeously.

It filed its answering affidavit to the application for parts B and C on September 11 at 16:48.

The legal team and Van Loggerenberg will now be granted access to part B and thereafter they will be able to bring an application for specific documents in part B.

The case is likely to be transferred to the High Court after these pre-trial matters are concluded, advocate Laurence Hodes, acting for all three former SARS officials, told the court.