The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has suspended and extended the suspension of executives against whom serious allegations of misconduct were made during the Commission of Inquiry into tax and governance, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Robert Nugent.
Sars announced the precautionary suspension of two executives and the extension of the suspension of one executive on Wednesday evening in a statement.
The three executives are Hlengani Mathebula, the Chief Officer for Governance, International Relations, Strategy and Communications, Teboho Mokoena, Chief Officer for Human Capital & Development and Luther Lebelo, the Group Executive for Employee Relations.
During the Nugent Inquiry Mathebula admitted that former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane had a hit list of staff whom he wanted targeted during his tenure as head of enforcement. He also signed off on what was dubbed as a new “rogue unit” at SARS during his tenure — the unit had apparently targeted Sars investigators who were probing high profile tobacco cases.
Lebelo was described as “Moyane’s hitman” during the inquiry. He was the chief proponent of the alleged rogue unit narrative in SARS but came under fire during the inquiry for having the tax agency foot the bill for his personal legal expenses in preparation for his appearance before Nugent.
The precautionary suspensions follow the revelation in an interview with the Mail and Guardian by Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter that a special team had been set up in his office to probe revelations emanating from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture as well as the Nugent inquiry.
“This is part of an ongoing comprehensive review of the whole SARS leadership by the Commissioner in terms of good governance, and further, in response to the report on the Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance by SARS, the “Nugent Report”,” Sars said in a statement.
“The precautionary suspensions take effect immediately. It must be reiterated that these suspensions are precautionary in nature and as such do not amount to findings of any wrongdoing on their part.
“A determination in this regard will only be made on the finalization of the process.”