EDINBURGH — Journalists at Scorpio have played a key role in uncovering widespread corruption in South Africa, with their latest revelations putting the spotlight on international consultancy Bain & Co. The investigative reporters have pieced together how Bain & Co met with President Jacob Zuma to discuss how to capture the South African Revenue Service – long before Zupta lackey Tom Moyane was installed as the country’s tax collection boss. The Daily Maverick-linked journalists reveal, too, how Bain & Co boss Vittorio Massone coached Moyane. – Jackie Cameron
By Thulasizwe Sithole
A new state capture scandal involving an international consulting firm has erupted, with investigative journalists piecing together how Bain & Co aided and abetted former president Jacob Zuma and his friends to take control of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
The SARS has been at the centre of attempts by the Zuma and the Gupta families to evade tax and raid state coffers.
Journalists working for the Daily Maverick Scorpio team have revealed how Boston-based consultancy Bain & Company’s SA managing director Vittorio Massone colluded with Tom Moyane and Jonas Makwakwa in order to receive a R187 million contract to restructure SARS.
“More than that, Massone appears to have lied under oath to the Commission of Inquiry into SARS in an attempt to hide the fraud. Vittorio Massone was informed that Tom Moyane would be appointed to the top position in SARS a month before then president Jacob Zuma made the announcement on 23 September 2014,” writes journalist Pauli van Wyk.
“Bain’s managing director and his team had been coaching Moyane to step into the top job at SARS during at least six sessions between October 2013 and August 2014. After he received the tip-off, Massone immediately invited Moyane to the firm’s local offices in Melrose Arch. Jonas Makwakwa, the SARS official who would later become Moyane’s right-hand man at SARS, joined the discussion about what Bain could and should change in SARS,” says the Daily Maverick.
Scorpio pieced together these stunning revelations based on documents Bain provided to the Commission of Inquiry into SARS, Massone’s affidavit, the testimony of National Treasury’s Solly Tshitangano before the Commission, and interviews with three key sources.
Bain declined to respond to Scorpio inquiries, saying:
“While the Commission of Inquiry and our own internal investigation are ongoing we will not be commenting on specific questions relating to SARS and our work.”
The information, derived from Bain’s own server, proves that a month before Moyane was to be appointed at SARS, he colluded with Massone and Makwakwa over “procurement procedures” relating to a tender yet to be conceptualised – the redesign of SARS’ operation model.
In part one of a three-story series on Bain South Africa’s corrupt relationship with key politicians and fixers in a bid to elbow its way into the local market, Scorpio highlights the following:
- Massone started working with Moyane while the latter was still a “nobody” on SARS plans after being introduced to him by Zuma;
- Massone met with Zuma for the first time on 11 August 2012 to present Project Phoenix, a scheme where Bain would overhaul the whole of government, and later the ANC itself, starting with the telecommunications sector, and Telkom in particular.
- Also attending the meeting, says Massone in an affidavit, was Sipho Maseko, who would seven months later be announced as the new Telkom CEO; and
- According to Business Day, there was no record of a competitive bidding process that led to Bain & Co being awarded a R91m advisory contract, and Maseko did not seek formal proposals from other consultancy firms.