Parliament’s standing committee on finance on Monday said it had sent official letters to South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba asking for a copy of a disciplinary inquiry report which cleared a senior Sars official.
Jonas Makwakwa, widely believed to be Moyane’s number two, was reinstated last week after serving a year’s suspension after the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) flagged several suspicious payments into his bank account and that of another Sars employee, Kelly-Anne Elskie.
“Although we have no evidence that Mr Makwakwa and Ms Elskie are guilty of the allegations against them, we still believe that it is in the public interest that the report be released,” said committee chairperson Yunus Carrim in a statement.
“Given the role Sars plays, it not only has to be, but be seen to be above reproach, and perceptions of irregularities by its senior officials have to be effectively addressed.”
The letters to Moyane and Gigaba were sent after consultation with Parliament’s legal services unit.
Carrim said given the diminishing public confidence in Sars, it was necessary for the revenue service to take the public into its confidence.
“With the projected shortfall of R50.8-billion in revenue for this financial year, we need to bolster public confidence in Sars more than ever before. The statement issued by Sars that Mr Makwakwa is not guilty of the charges levelled against him is terse and offers no justification for this decision.”
Makwakwa, Chief Officer: Business and Individual Taxes, was suspended last year after the FIC submitted a report to Sars containing some serious allegations against Makwakwa regarding how large amounts of money ended up in his bank account.
Sars then sought an outside legal opinion on the matter after Moyane took the decision to suspend Makwakwa pending an independent investigation into the allegations.
International law firm, Hogan Lovells, was appointed to investigate the matter. Hogan Lovells submitted an investigation report which recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Makwakwa.
The law firm then appointed senior counsel, Advocate Terry Motau, to chair the hearing.
“Sars wishes to confirm that, Advocate Motau, SC, has submitted the final report which found that Mr Makwakwa was not guilty of any of the charges levelled against him,” Sars said in a statement last week.
“This concludes the disciplinary action against Mr Makwakwa. As a result Sars will immediately implement the outcome of the hearing as is. He will return to Sars to resume his position as CO: BAIT with effect from 1 November 2017.”