Former SARS spokesperson was never identified as a ‘problem’, CCMA hears

2017-06-09 22:09
Adrian Lackay (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Adrian Lackay (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – Former SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay was never identified as a “problem” during a GCIS meeting held in December 2014.

This was a testimony by SARS chief officer for business and individual tax, Jonas Makwakwa, before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Friday.

Makwakwa, who was suspended amid investigations regarding financial transactions into his bank account, is the second witness to be called by SARS.

Lackay has taken SARS to the CCMA for constructive dismissal. He is asking to be awarded a year’s salary.

Lackay had previously testified that deputy spokesperson Marika Muller told him he had been identified as the "problem" around the communication surrounding the alleged rogue unit.

“I dispute that…It didn’t happen that we discussed him in the meeting,” Makwakwa said.

He said they received a media inquiry regarding President Jacob Zuma and they needed to consult with GCIS in order to get guidance.

Advocate Richard Moultrie, for Lackay, also questioned why Lackay was not invited to the meeting.

He put it to Makwakwa that it was his intention not to have Lackay at the meeting. Moultrie also added that Lackay was made to look like he was not performing his duties.

Lackay had previously revealed a lot of what went on behind the scenes as SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane first started the job in the midst of the onset of the rogue unit debacle in 2014 and 2015.

He had previously argued that his working conditions became unbearable amid allegations of the rogue unit's existence.

Untenable

He also said he was forced to leave after it became untenable to associate with the goings-on at the revenue service.

But Makwakwa said he was not aware that Lackay was unhappy at his job.

“I don’t believe Lackay would think that he can’t talk to me. Our relationship was solid, he could have said something,” he said.

Lackay revealed that not only did Moyane not fight back against the rogue unit allegations - he "tacitly approved them".

Lackay said he was increasingly being left out of the loop on important events at SARS, such as the suspensions of deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, at a time when – as the spokesperson of the organisation – he was being bombarded with queries from the media.

Last month, Moyane told members of Parliament that he still hasn’t been updated on the investigation involving Makwakwa, which is conducted by international law firm Hogan Lovells.

He also said the matter was being investigated by the Hawks.

The Sunday Times reported in September 2016 that Makwakwa had been singled out for cash payments into his bank account that appeared "suspicious and unusual".

The investigations also focused on three cash deposits, totalling R450 200, to Makwakwa's girlfriend's Absa account just before Christmas 2015.

According to the report, compiled by the banking regulator, Makwakwa received a total of R1.2m in cash payments between 2010 and January 2016. 

The hearing would continue on September 11. 

Read more on:    sars  |  adrian lackay  |  johannesburg

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