Corruption Watch wants update on SARS' Makwakwa case

Johannesburg – Corruption Watch has written to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance to ask for an update on the charges the organisation laid against South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane and his second in command, Jonas Makwakwa. 

In May 2016, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) flagged several suspicious payments into Makwakwa's and his girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elskie's bank account amounting to R1.3m. 

Corruption Watch laid charges against the two SARS employees, as well as against Moyane for allegedly unlawfully disclosing the FIC report to Makwakwa and Elskie and for his failure to report the alleged corrupt activities to the Hawks.

Corruption Watch director David Lewis said the organisation was advised that the Hawks were handling an inquiry and never received a response when it asked for more information. 

Makwakwa and Elskie, who had been on suspension, returned to work at the end of last year. 

SARS said the findings of an internal inquiry acquitted Makwakwa of all charges. But the revenue service did admit in Parliament that he was facing tax and criminal investigations, as well as a money laundering probe.

Lewis wrote in a letter to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Yunus Carrim, the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, in November last year that Corruption Watch was concerned about the processes followed in this matter and the organisation had written to the SARS commissioner for clarity on the nature and scope of the disciplinary inquiry as well as information on the reports which were used to clear Makwakwa of wrongdoing.

Moyane's actions 'attract criminal sanctions'

Corruption Watch requested that the finance committee inquire into the processes followed by SARS and that it take note of the conduct of Moyane in informing the implicated duo of the FIC report. 

"We submit that his actions amounted to breaches of the FIC Act which attract criminal sanctions," Lewis said.  

Corruption Watch requested that there be a Parliamentary inquiry regarding SARS' finding on Makwakwa. 

The organisation also requested that the committee look at the inaction of the Hawks and NPA with regards to investigating the charges against Makwakwa, Elskie and Moyane. 

The letter was not responded to and Corruption Watch sent another letter this week asking for a response to its first letter and that the committee indicate the outcome of any inquiry and/or recommended sanctions in relation to the processes followed by SARS and law firm Hogan Lovells which have resulted in Makwakwa being cleared of all wrongdoing and being allowed to return to work. 

In the letter to NPA head Shaun Abrahams, Corruption Watch said it was unaware of the nature and status of the investigation by the Hawks nor of any steps taken by the NPA in the Moyane/Makwakwa matter. 

"If the NPA has declined to prosecute in respect of these matters. Please provide us with detailed reasons for declining to prosecute," the organisation requested.  

Corruption Watch also asked the NPA to indicate whether a certificate nolle prosequi would be provided to the organisation and if not, then detailed reasons for such a decision. 

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