Consulting firm Bain ready to defend itself at Nugent inquiry into SARS

Consulting firm Bain & Company, which has come under fire from South African Revenue Service executives for its role in the drafting of the tax revenue’s restructuring plan, says it is ready to defend itself.

Several SARS officials have criticised Bain, saying it based its diagnostic reports on inaccurate information and outdated reports.

Bain has come under fire during the inquiry, with senior tax officials testifying that the company did not consult them during its work, and that it based its diagnostic reports on outdated information.

The firm said in a statement it took seriously any "questionable assertions" against its reputation, and was "eager to present the facts and evidence that [would] support the efficacy of our work and the transparency and professionalism with which we approach every client engagement, SARS included".

The SARS business restructuring plan was implemented in 2015, under the leadership of suspended commissioner Tom Moyane.

The company is set to give evidence before the commission on Thursday and Friday.

The global consulting firm said SARS had allowed it to voluntarily submit its work to the inquiry.

"Our voluntary submission will provide transparency to the scope, methodology and findings of our work. We look forward to the opportunity to set the record straight with the facts pertaining to our work at SARS," it said.

Last week, the commission tried to establish the purpose of the controversial business operating model which has been repeatedly blamed for the operational challenges faced the institution, including the shutting of key enforcement units that looked into the tax affairs of large businesses and the illicit economy.

The commission also heard that Bain submitted four models to SARS at the end of its work, but the plan finally implemented by the tax revenue service differed from any of these, raising questions about who introduced the changes and if Bain was aware of them.

Officials have stated that adopted model was not aligned with the vision and business strategy of SARS.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and his predecessor, Malusi Gigaba, are also due to appear before the commission. 

Gigaba was the one who recommend a probe into SARS operational affairs, but the process only got off the ground in June, following the suspension of Moyane. 

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