Court turns down Moyane’s bid to have Trengove recused

Former South African Revenue Service boss Tom Moyane has failed in his bid to have Wim Trengove, SC recused from representing Judge Robert Nugent in a case where Moyane is challenging the powers of the inquiry that led to his dismissal.

Nugent, who is heading the Commission of Inquiry into Sars, is one of the eight respondents in the matter being heard in the high court in Pretoria.

Moyane’s objection is based on the fact that Trengove once provided a “legal opinion” on Sars matters while Moyane was still commissioner, and also advised President Cyril Ramaphosa during the drafting of charges for his disciplinary process, following his suspension in March.

Moyane’s legal team, led by Dali Mpofu, brought the application asking for the recusal before the court could hear the case, arguing that Trengove’s involvement was “going to affect the procedural fairness of the hearing”.

Judge Hans Fabricius dismissed the application after hearing submissions from both legal representatives for two hours.

He said he would give details of his decision with the full ruling. Trengove, who was present in court, had earlier submitted that he had never met Moyane at any time during the period of his work for Sars.

According to the court papers, Trengove offered legal advice on the powers that empower the President, and not the minister to appoint senior employees, including the commissioner of the tax service. He also gave input regarding the National Revenue Fund in the event of a surplus.

“It is clear from the foregoing exposition that Mr Trengove is in an irredeemable conflict of interest situation and should therefore not be involved in this matter at all,” read Moyane’s submission.

Moyane was present in court during the proceedings.

The matter continues. — Fin 24

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