SARS given one-week ultimatum to release KPMG, Makwakwa reports

Cape Town - South African Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane told Parliament’s standing committee on finance on Tuesday that beleaguered SARS official Jonas Makwakwa has approved the release of two reports in SARS' possession, as well as making his personal tax information available to the committee.

Committee members put the screws on Moyane on Tuesday morning to explain why SARS won't make two reports in its possession available to the committee. The reports relate to the KPMG report into a SARS rogue unit working within the tax body, as well as accusations against Makwakwa.

Moyane said Makwakwa, SARS chief officer of business and individual tax, wrote to him to grant the approval as it related to his personal tax information.

The committee has now given SARS just under a week from Tuesday morning to supply the reports to its members. However, the point of contention lay in whether the committee could gain or even wanted access to Makwakwa’s tax information.

Makwakwa was suspended on money laundering accusations following the release of a Financial Intelligence Centre report.

After he was suspended, SARS retained international law firm Hogan Lovells to investigate Makwakwa and his girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elskie. Based on the law firm's report, in part, Makwakwa was found not guilty as a later disciplinary hearing.

He returned to the tax collection agency in October last year after a year-long suspension. At the time SARS said Advocate Terry Motau, who chaired the Hogan Lovells investigation into Makwakwa, found he was not guilty of the charges against him.   

Money laundering charges allegedly not probed

But Hogan Lovells itself has come under scrutiny, notably by UK politician Lord Peter Hain, for allegedly not investigating the money laundering accusations at all in its investigation. 

This comes as Daily Maverick on Tuesday morning reported that New Integrated Credit Solutions, which has a deal with SARS to assist in bolstering the tax body’s debt collections, paid R600 000 into Makwakwa’s bank account.

Moyane said both the committee and SARS were in agreement that these reports must be released to National Treasury and MPs. He said Makwakwa wrote to him on Sunday saying that he approved the release of the reports and his tax information, as long as they are perused confidentially by the committee.

“The advice that we received was late in the day. I received a letter from Makwakwa on March 11 where he conceded and agreed that I can divulge his tax audit report to the minister and to the committee chairman as long as it is not shared with anyone else, and committee members get to read it in the presence of the chair only,” said Moyane.

Moyane said Makwakwa will allow the commissioner to release tax information to the committee and Treasury, and that it will be used on the basis of transparency and accountability to Parliament. This relates to both reports as well as his tax information.

Committee chairperson Yunus Carrim said the reports must be provided to the committee, ahead of its next meeting with SARS next Tuesday. He insisted that he did not want the report to become subject to leaks and distorted reports.

While the committee agreed that it does not wish to receive Makwakwa's personal tax information as yet, its legal adviser Advocate Frank Jenkins said the commissioner may decide that an individual's tax details can be disclosed if it serves to rebut or counter claims of impropriety against that taxpayer. 

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