Johannesburg – Suspended South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane’s legal team has told the Presidency it will head to court over a technical aspect of his disciplinary inquiry.
Moyane’s lawyer Eric Mabuza told Fin24 they informed President Cyril Ramaphosa's office on Wednesday about the intention to challenge the written evidence aspect of the inquiry.
The suspended SARS commissioner, who maintains he's innocent of the twelve misconduct charges he faces, insists he should also be allowed to make oral representations. Moyane’s legal team has written to Ramaphosa arguing against the disciplinary inquiry being held in writing, as the SARS Act allows for oral evidence.
According to the disciplinary hearing’s terms of reference, oral evidence would be heard only at the panel chair’s discretion.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said the Presidency maintains its position that the disciplinary process is fair and procedurally correct.
"We further reiterate our view that the hearing itself remains the platform for Mr Moyane to challenge any issues he may have about the process. In the event he disagrees, as he does, Mr Moyane, like all people in the Republic, is free to approach the courts which are there to act as arbiters where parties do not find one another," she told Fin24 in a WhatsApp message.
The lead-up to the disciplinary inquiry, at a not-yet determined date, has been increasingly acrimonious. Ramaphosa has turned down several of Moyane’s demands, including a request that the state cover Moyane's legal costs.
Mabuza said they would also head to court if chair of the disciplinary panel, retired Constitutional Court Judge Kate O'Regan, didn't recuse herself.
Moyane's team has accused Judge O'Regan of having a conflict of interest owing to her role in Corruption Watch.
The civil society organisation said in March that it would pursue a private prosecution case against Moyane if the National Prosecuting Authority failed to act.
Moyane was suspended on March 19 in a letter by Ramaphosa, who accused him of contributing to the “deterioration in public confidence at SARS and public finances being compromised”.
Executive Director at Corruption Watch David Lewis told Fin24 on Friday the organisation is not commenting on the issue.
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