'Gordhan wanted to rule from the grave' - Defiant Moyane lashes out in court papers

2018-10-01 20:29
Suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane in Parliament on Tuesday. (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

Suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane in Parliament on Tuesday. (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

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Suspended South African Revenue Service (SARS) boss Tom Moyane has lashed out at Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, accusing him of wanting to "rule from the grave" in a scathing affidavit filed to the Constitutional Court on Monday.

The legal bid to the highest court in the land is the latest attempt by Moyane to fight off his detractors.

The respondents in the matter include President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gordhan, Judge Robert Nugent, advocate Azhar Bham, SC, Professor Michael Katz, advocate Mabongi Masilo and Vuyo Kahla.

Describing the relationship he had with Gordhan, Moyane said it was rooted either in "envy or downright jealousy but certainly reminiscent of a propensity to rule from the grave".

"For example, I was the first and only commissioner of SARS in the history of the institution to reach the psychological important revenue milestone of R1 trillion and to break that hitherto elusive barrier three times in a row," he said in his affidavit.

According to Moyane, the "record-breaking" revenue collected under his leadership at SARS drew resentment from those who had failed to collect a trillion rand, he said in reference to Gordhan.

Damaged imaged, low staff morale

Moyane also said that the reason Gordhan "resents me is that he believes, incorrectly, that I am the person behind the revelations that he formed and allowed an unlawful rogue unit during his tenure as SARS commissioner".

He said when he commenced his duties in September 2014, the panel of inquiry chaired by advocate Muzi Sikhakhane that probed the existence of the so-called "rogue unit" was completing its work.

He said the report had damaged SARS' external image and staff morale.

"As the incoming leader, I had to deal with the aftermath and efforts to rebuild the image and morale of the organisation."

In his application, Moyane has asked the court to declare Ramaphosa's decision regarding the appointment of the SARS commission of inquiry and the disciplinary inquiry to be in violation of the Constitution and therefore unlawful and invalid.

He also wants the decision to have both inquiries run concurrently declared as unlawful and invalid.

Claims of a threat

Moyane also added that Gordhan was not legally authorised to act as he had in respect of the disciplinary inquiry and was "in any event" further disqualified to do so due to his conflict of interests and proximity to the issues as a relatively recent commissioner of SARS and as well as his hostile conduct towards him.

"In a nutshell, I have had to deal simultaneously with an ongoing and seemingly coordinated triple-barrelled assault on my constitutional rights from the first (Ramaphosa), third (Nugent) and fourth (Bham) respondents," Moyane said in his affidavit. 

He also stated that in a letter dated September 7, Judge Nugent, who chairs the SARS inquiry "threatened" him and said that he "intends to recommend that the president should remove me and replace me with another person, without affording me the rights to a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal".

Moyane said should the threat be carried out, it would add to the need for a speedy resolution in the matter.

"The lingering threats of proceeding with the hearing without my participation and without the ordinary right to cross-examination from the fourth respondent (Bham), coupled with the threat of 'removal from office' by the third respondent (Nugent), add to the inherent urgency of the matter."

Moyane was suspended on March 19 by Ramaphosa after he refused to step down voluntarily.

The president said at the time in a letter he had "lost confidence in his ability to lead the South African Revenue Service".

He was later served with a notice of a disciplinary inquiry.

Ramaphosa wrote that SARS under Moyane's leadership had been marked by a "deterioration in public confidence".

Read more on:    sars  |  pravin gor­dhan  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  tom moyane

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