DA questions R3m in SARS bonuses to executive committee

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) claims the SA Revenue Service allegedly failed to comply with legislation by unlawfully paying out R3m in bonuses to members of its executive committee.

In a statement on Thursday the DA’s finance spokesperson, Alf Lees, said the party would “interrogate this non-compliance and question SARS thoroughly when they appear before the Standing Committee on Finance next week Tuesday”.

SARS did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

Lees said the bonuses are detailed in SARS’ Annual Report for 2016/17 which he said was “tabled under the cover of darkness late last [Wednesday] night”.

In the report SARS notes that R3m was paid out to members of its executive committee.

“In the year under review SARS paid a total of R561m in performance bonuses relating to the 2015/16 financial year of which R3m was paid to members of the Executive Committee,” states the report.

“The payment of the R3m was based on legal opinions obtained by the SARS Accounting Authority which confirmed the powers conferred upon the SARS Commissioner by the SARS Act as amended in 2002 in particular Section 18(3).

“Indeed SARS has historically sought approval from the [Finance] Minister when effecting such performance bonus payments. However, on the strength of the legal advice obtained, the historical approval was not obtained.”

The report noted that SARS had approached the Gauteng North High Court to seek a declaratory order on the interpretation of the powers of the SARS Commissioner.

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