Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula quits

Cape Town - South African Revenue Service commissioner Oupa Magashula resigned with immediate effect on Friday, following the outcome of a fact-finding inquiry into allegations that he offered a chartered accountant a job at Sars.

The announcement was made by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who on March 24 this year instituted a thorough investigation into allegations that Magashula inappropriately offered a job to an accountant, placing the reputation of the tax institution at risk.

The investigation followed media reports that Magashula offered the job to a CA in a conversation facilitated by Timothy Marimuthu. The reports were based on a recorded telephone conversation between Magashula and Marimuthu.

The reports alleged that Marimuthu had influence over Magashula.

Gordhan said then that the reports raised questions over the integrity of staff recruitment processes at Sars.

To protect the integrity of this vital fiscal institution, reassure the South African public and ensure a rapid process of establishing the facts relating to the events as reported by the media, Gordhan said, he appointed retired Constitutional Court Justice Zak Yacoob, and Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane.

The inquiry, however, found that Magashula had committed no crime, Gordhan said.

Other findings included that Magashula:
  • Had by his conduct placed the reputation and credibility of Sars at risk;
  • Was much less frank with the committee than the committee would have expected of the person who had the integrity essential to his position;   
  • Caused  him, Gordhan, to make an incorrect statement to the public with regards to the CA’s CV not having been sent to Sars. An interview had been arranged, but the CA cancelled because she preferred a job based in Durban, which did not meet Sars’ requirements.
  • Interacted with Marimuthu more times than he had initially admitted to him, Gordhan and the committee; and that
  • Magashula told him, Gordhan, and the committee (during his first appearance before it) that he had had no further communication with the CA. It later transpired that she had sent five emails to the commissioner’s private Sars email address.

Gordhan said that after considering the report and its recommendations, he had decided to accept Magashula’s resignation with immediate effect and also instructed the audit committee of Sars to investigate whether the commissioner’s behaviour breached any of the tax and customs processes at Sars.

The current deputy commissioner at Sars, Ivan Pillay, has been appointed acting commissioner.


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