Gordhan accuses Moyane of 'gross dereliction of duty' in affidavit

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has, in an affidavit, accused suspended South African Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane of "gross dereliction of duty" for lifting the suspension of controversial official Jonas Makwakwa without good reason.   

This is one of a number of claims against Moyane included in the 69-page affidavit submitted by the former finance minister as part of a disciplinary hearing that Moyane is facing. 

Moyane was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma in September 2014, replacing acting commissioner at the time, Ivan Pillay.

He was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa on March 19, 2018. According to the presidency the suspension was "in the interests of restoring credibility at SARS". 

In a letter to Moyane, Ramaphosa criticised his leadership, saying that there had been a "deterioration in public confidence in the institution", and public finances were being compromised. 

The presidency served him with a notice of disciplinary inquiry on May 2, 2018.

Makwakwa, the tax agency’s former chief officer for business and individual tax, resigned from the agency in mid-March 2018.  

In the affidavit, Gordhan argues that Moyane did not correctly oversee the disciplinary process of Makwakwa, who was suspended in September 2016 after the Financial Intelligence Centre submitted a report to SARS containing suspicious transactions. 

He was reinstated after being cleared in a disciplinary hearing on November 1, 2017. 

Gordhan said that SARS had also "effectively sabotaged" a forensic investigation into the suspicious transactions undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) by withholding vital information. 

"SARS failed to provide PwC with the information and documentation it required in order to conduct effective investigations [into suspicious transactions]. In so doing it effectively sabotaged the PwC investigation. In the result the PwC investigation was largely meaningless and its findings inconclusive," he said.    

"Despite the fact that the investigations were patently inadequate, Mr Moyane accepted the HL (Hogan Lovells) and PwC reports without demur."

Hogan Lovells is a law firm that was retained by Moyane to conduct the investigation into Makwakwa. 

Moyane is facing four charges in total. These are the gross mishandling of the Financial Intelligence Centre report; unauthorised bonus payments; misleading Parliament; and instructing a SARS employee not to co-operate with the KPMG investigation into the SARS high risk unit.

Moyane's lawyer Eric Mabuza told Fin24 that they were still considering the claims made in the affidavit.

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