President Cyril Ramaphosa has shut down suspended South African Revenue Services (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane’s demands that the state foot the legal bills incurred during the pending disciplinary inquiry against him and that the terms of reference of the inquiry be altered.
In written correspondence to the presidency Eric Mabuza ― who is Moyane’s attorney — argued that oral evidence and the calling and cross-examination of witnesses should be conducted throughout the disciplinary inquiry, according to Business Day.
At present, the inquiry will be held in writing which Moyane’s legal team has described as a “legal oddity”. Oral evidence will only be heard at the discretion of retired Constitutional Court Judge Kate O’Regan — who is the panel’s chairperson.
The decision to suspend Moyane in March followed a meeting in which Ramaphosa informed the revenue service’s commissioner that he had lost confidence in his ability to lead Sars and offered him the opportunity to resign with immediate effect.
The Presidency also sent Moyane a letter informing him that: “Developments at Sars under your leadership have resulted in a deterioration in public confidence in the institution and in public finances being compromised. For the sake of the country and the economy, this situation cannot be allowed to continue, or to worsen.”
Moyane was suspended over various issues including the manner in which he handled the Financial Intelligence Centre report which raised red flags over suspicious transactions carried out by former chief officer for business and individual tax, Jonas Makwakwa.
New Integrated Credit Solutions, which had a deal with Sars to assist in bolstering the tax body’s debt collections, allegedly paid R600 000 into Makwakwa’s bank account.
Ramaphosa also raised the issue of the management of value-added tax (VAT) refunds, which had brought Sars into “serious disrepute” and adversely affected tax morality among taxpayers.
The charges against Moyane relate to alleged misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities in terms of the South African Revenue Service Act, Public Finance Management Act and the revenue service’s code of conduct.