SARS moves to suspend head of legal Refiloe Mokoena

The South African Revenue Service has served its head of legal Refiloe Mokoena with a notice of intention to suspend her from her position, News24 has learnt. 

News24 understands this is in relation with Mokoena's involvement in unlawful R420m worth of VAT refunds claimed by Gupta companies which SARS paid to third parties in contravention of the VAT Act.

Mokoena previously served on the board of state-owned arms manufacturer Denel while it was attempting to establish a joint-venture with Gupta owned VR Laser.

She was hired during now suspended commissioner Tom Moyane's tenure.

Mokoena was named in media reports on the R420m linked illegal Gupta VAT refunds.

ALSO READ: How Moyane’s SARS illegally paid R420-million to the Guptas

She overruled her colleagues, including now acting Commissioner Mark Kingon, and others considered to be among the top VAT experts inside of SARS and even invoked Moyane's name to ensure that VAT refunds were paid to several third parties for the Guptas' benefit.

She has denied these allegations and has accused Gupta-owned Oakbay CEO Ronica Ragavan of lying when Ragavan asked SARS to pay the VAT refunds to an attorney's trust account.

News24 understands that she was served with the notice on Wednesday afternoon and will now be given an opportunity to provide reasons why she should not be suspended in writing.

When contacted, Mokoena denied receiving the notice and referred News24 to SARS for comment. 

However, SARS said it was not its policy to divulge details of internal processes and employ information publicly as these are confidential matters. 

Damning concession

SARS admitted in July that the payment of the VAT refunds was illegal, as the VAT Act does not allow payments to be made to third parties, specifically to curb fraud.

"VAT refund payments into an attorneys trust account would be a direct contravention of the provisions of section 44(3)(d) of the VAT Act," a SARS spokesperson told News24 and Daily Maverick.

The spokesperson continued, saying that "by all accounts the SARS processes insofar refunds are concerned have been followed; however, all these are being reviewed to ensure the robustness of the SARS systems and processes."The possibility that governance processes, which include standard operating procedures, have failed and the reasons for the failure is part of our overall review referenced earlier," the response continued.

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