The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Tom Moyane has fought back at critics who suggest he has been soft on financial irregularities involving Sars chief Jonas Makwakwa and colleague Kelly-Ann Elskie. In a detailed letter to Corruption Watch, which earlier notified him of an intention to lay criminal charges against him for failing to report allegations of suspicious transactions, he has set out that he did, indeed, notify the relevant authorities – but was told categorically to take a step back. He says he was advised by the Hawks that there was no need to open an investigation as a case had already been opened. In addition, he sets out in detail, dating correspondence, his version of events since May. Moyane has been under pressure, with a number of controversies keeping him in the headlines – from an allegation that SARS employee Vlok Symington was held against his will in the SARS offices to criticism that the relationship between SARS and business has turned hostile since Moyane took the helm at the tax collection agency. Not helping his case in the public approval ratings is that he is believed to be aligned with President Jacob Zuma in a power struggle with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the latter seen as the “good guy” fighting corruption and state capture. Thousands of South Africans have declared their intent to join a protest march on November 2 in support of Gordhan, who is being pursued by the Hawks on what are believed to be spurious charges. Moyane’s detailed letter to Corruption Watch suggests that he is, in fact, also working against corruption – it just hasn’t been appropriate to share widely the finer details of how he has been tackling irregularities. – Jackie Cameron
By Matthew le Cordeur
Cape Town – South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Tom Moyane on Friday pointed to the Hawks as the reason why he did not report allegations of irregular payments made by suspended Sars chief Jonas Makwakwa to the police.
Moyane was responding to David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, who this week said he intends laying criminal charges against the Sars commissioner.
This would be done in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, spokesperson Patience Mkosana said on Wednesday.
“As an official who holds a position of authority, Moyane is obliged to report knowledge or even mere suspicion of corrupt transactions over R100 000 to the DPCI [Hawks].”
Corruption Watch said it had sent a letter to Moyane on Wednesday concerning his failure to act decisively on the Financial Intelligence Centre’s findings, contained in a report, detailing fraud and corruption allegedly involving Makwakwa and his girlfriend, Kelly-Ann Elskie.
City Press also reported that Moyane allegedly ignored complaints that Makwakwa personally signed off on the irregular promotion for Elskie, for a key job in the organisation’s legal and policy division.
However, Moyane said he was aware of the act in question and revealed why he did not inform the police.
“Upon an enquiry and before I could report this matter to the SAPS, I was advised by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (the Hawks) that the matter had already been referred to the SAPS for investigation during early June 2016,” Moyane told Lewis in a letter he forwarded to media.
“I was advised by the Hawks through a written correspondence that there is no need to open a criminal case on a matter that is already under investigation by the Hawks,” he said. “I have accepted the advice and continue to cooperate with the Hawks in respect of the criminal investigation against the two Sars employees.
1) So who is lying about the SARS employees Jonas Makwakwa and girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elsie matter: The Hawks or SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane?
— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) October 28, 2016
“I was advised that the Hawks have commenced with a criminal investigation into corruption, racketeering and money laundering against the two Sars employees,” he said. “The criminal investigation is being administered by the Hawks’ Anti-Corruption Investigation Unit…
“The Sars is fully cooperating with the SAPS in respect of the criminal investigation against the two employees.
“I was specifically advised by the Hawks that all issues relating to the criminal investigation must be addressed directly to their offices and that the Sars is expected to cooperate fully with the criminal investigation.”
“To date, my office has received a request for information from the Hawks and my office is taking all measures to provide the requested information.”
Time for Pravin Gordhan to institute an enquiry into the conduct of Tom Moyane.
— Kgauza wa Lecowza (@KgaugeloSM) October 27, 2016
Moyane said he “unequivocally stated the seriousness and sensitivity of this matter” when he responded to the FIC on May 20 2016.
He then informed the two employees on May 23 about the allegations and that Sars would investigate the matter.
“I instituted a misconduct investigation into allegations of impropriety, tax evasion, corruption, contravention of the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999 and money laundering against the two SARS’ employees,” he said.
He told Lewis that his allegation “with regard to act of criminality against my office under …(the FIC Act) is unfounded”.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.