The lawyer representing suspended South African Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane has welcomed the recusal of retired Judge Kate O’Regan as head of an inquiry into the disciplinary charges against the embattled former tax boss.
“We welcome the recusal of the Judge O’Regan as the presiding officer; we are pleased that sanity has prevailed,” said Eric Mabuza of Mabuza Attorneys.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday announced the appointment of advocate Azhar Bham, SC as O'Regan's replacement.
A statement from Ramaphosa’s office cited an objection raised by Moyane regarding the links between Judge Kate O’Regan and Corruption Watch, an NGO of which she is a board member.
The organisation had been calling for Moyanes’s removal.
Ramaphosa said he was “certain that Judge O’Regan would have adjudicated the matter objectively and that her position did not present a conflict”.
“We are looking forward to the inquiry; however, we have noted that the president said there was nothing wrong with the appointment of Judge O’Regan, despite not giving her a chance to explain why he should not recuse her,” said Mabuza.
He stated that Moyane is still opposed to the process of conducting the inquiry based on written submissions.
“We believe this process would rob our client of chance to confront his accusers.
"The inquiry process remains unfair and flawed,” he said, adding that depriving an accused person the right to make oral representation is “unheard of”.
Ramaphosa suspended Moyane on March 19, accusing him of contributing to the “deterioration in public confidence at SARS and public finances being compromised”.
He was slapped with charges of misconduct. But Moyane has maintained his innocence.
Moyane is charged with gross mishandling of the financial intelligence centre report of May 17, 2016, relating to “suspicious transactions” by Jonas Makwakwa and Kelly Ann Elskie.
He is also accused of unauthorised bonus payments, where he is said to have paid performance bonuses to managers without the approval of the minister of finance, misleading Parliament and iInstructing SARS officials not to cooperate with the KPMG investigation.
Mabuza could not say when the inquiry is likely to resume.* SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.