Makwakwa investigation didn't include suspicious transactions - law firm

Jonas Makwakwa (SARS)
Jonas Makwakwa (SARS)

Cape Town - Law firm Hogan Lovells, which conducted an investigation into top SA Revenue Service (SARS) official Jonas Makwakwa, has said that it did not directly investigate transactions red flagged by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). 

Makwakwa returned to SARS on November 1 2017, following his almost year-long suspension. 

SARS said a disciplinary hearing based on an investigative report submitted by Hogan Lovells had concluded that Makwakwa was not guilty.

READ: Makwakwa back at SARS, cleared of all wrongdoing

However, in a statement issued earlier this week, Hogan Lovells revealed that it never investigated the transactions that the FIC regarded as suspicious. 

“The scope of the investigation conducted by Hogan Lovells was limited to identifying whether any misconduct had been committed by Makwakwa and [his partner] Kelly-Ann Elskie as employees of SARS. It did not seek to directly investigate the financial transactions identified by the FIC,” the law firm said.  

“We understand that all criminal related allegations arising from the FIC report were referred to the relevant authorities for investigation.”

The law firm added that its report contained the recommendation that disciplinary action should be taken against Makwakwa for non-disclosure of external interests. 

“No action was recommended against Elskie. SARS subsequently followed its own internal disciplinary procedures, which included charges relating to Makwakwa's breach of his suspension conditions and the failure to disclose.

"A hearing was convened and chaired by an independent senior counsel, Adv. Terry Motau SC. The findings of that internal inquiry acquitted Makwakwa of all charges.”

Suspicious transactions 

Makwakwa was suspended in September 2016, after the FIC submitted a report to SARS containing some serious allegations against him.

Fin24 reported at the time that Makwakwa - then the chief officer for business and individual taxes at Sars - was suspended with  full pay and benefits amid investigations regarding financial transactions into his personal bank account.

Hogan Lovells was then employed to investigate the allegations. 

SARS did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Thursday. 

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