Moyane wants FIC report implicating Makwakwa out of public eye

Cape Town – Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Tom Moyane has again attempted to keep damaging information implicating Jonas Makwakwa in alleged financial misconduct out of the public eye, claiming making it public violates the FIC Act.

Makwakwa was suspended as SARS chief officer for business and individual taxes, with full pay and benefits, on September 15, 2016, following a report by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) that he allegedly made "unusual and suspicious" deposits into a number of bank accounts between 2010 and 2016, Fin24 reported at the time.

Then, on November 1 this year he was reinstated, despite being under investigation by SARS itself and the Hawks.

Last week Moyane refused to furnish Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance with a report from audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PwC investigated the source of the funds for each of the transactions and in its report the firm stated that it could not confirm that the source and nature of the funds for the majority of the transactions were improper. 

Committee chair Yunus Carrim wrote to Moyane to request a copy of the PwC report, first on November 15 and again on November 24.

On Monday, December 4, Moyane responded, refusing to furnish the committee with the report.

Report on Daily Maverick website

He said South African tax law makes it a criminal offence for SARS or any other person to disclose the tax affairs of any taxpayer.

During the meeting DA MP Alf Lees made reference to the FIC report, waving a copy that was distributed to the committee.

Moyane took offence.

"Once it lands in the public domain, I won't be party to any discussion of that," he said. "I find it very strange that it is in the public domain."

After some toing and froing between the MPs, the committee's legal adviser said he had sent it to the MPs after he found it on the Daily Maverick's website for their information, and not to base any recommendations on. 

On Thursday Lees said in a statement that Moyane was trying to intimidate the committee after he sent a letter to Carrim.

'Clear attempt to intimidate' 

"We have sought legal guidance and have been advised that the Daily Maverick website and/or those who distributed the report, may have violated the FIC Act," Moyane wrote.

He said he would report the matter to the FIC director. 

"The FIC report has been publicly available on the internet, but instead of taking action on its findings, Mr Moyane seems to be working tirelessly to stop those implicated from being held to account," reads Lees' statement.

"The claim in Mr Moyane's letter that the FIC report in my possession was somehow illegal is a clear attempt to intimidate and stop me from holding SARS to account.

"This tactic by Moyane is not going to work and only reinforces my resolve to exercise my oversight function without fear or favour."

Lees said he wrote to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba asking him to ensure that Moyane immediately suspends Makwakwa, "at the very least, until the Hawks investigations into possible money laundering of the proceeds of crime have been completed" and that he works with Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to ensure that the Hawks' investigation is conducted expeditiously.

SARS asks for link

In his letter, Moyane also said SARS officials had attempted to "access and retrieve the alleged report from the internet and the Daily Maverick website without any success".

He asked that the committee's legal adviser send them a link to the document "to demonstrate the report being in the public domain".

News24 reached the Daily Maverick's article with the FIC report by typing the search terms "Makwakwa", "Daily Maverick", "SARS" and "FIC report" in Google's search bar.

SARS last month also threatened to take legal steps against investigative journalist Jacques Pauw after the publication of his book, The President's Keepers, in which Moyane features prominently and which alleges that President Jacob Zuma received monthly payments of R1m from Roy Moodley in 2009, when he was already president, without declaring it to SARS.

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER

Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1399 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 9038 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 1992 votes