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Cleared SARS deputy still on Hawks' radar

Law firm appointed to investigate says terms of reference were 'limited'

13 November 2017 - 05:01 By Natasha Marrian
Jonas Makwakwa.
Jonas Makwakwa.
Image: SARS

The Hawks have confirmed that the serious economic offences unit investigation into SARS second-in-command Jonas Makwakwa is continuing.

The NGO Corruption Watch is considering further legal action in connection with the Financial Intelligence Centre's allegations that more than R1.2-million in transactions in Makwakwa's personal bank accounts, and that of his partner, Kelly-Anne Elskie, who is also a SARS employee, were "suspicious and unusual".

SARS recently cleared Makwakwa and Elskie of all allegations and lifted the suspensions. Makwakwa returned to work at SARS on November 1.

The revenue service commissioned international law firm Hogan Lovells to investigate the transactions, but the firm said the scope of its investigation was "limited" and it did not "directly investigate the financial transactions identified by the FIC", raising questions about the employees' return to work.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Malaudzi confirmed on Sunday that the directorate's serious economic offences unit was still investigating the allegations.

Hogan Lovells said "all criminal-related allegations arising from the FIC report were referred to the relevant authorities for investigation".

Corruption Watch director David Lewis said there were still questions about whether the suspension of the pair should have been lifted while investigations were continuing.

"SARS is implying that there are no more question marks hanging over Makwakwa and Elskie's heads ... but in fact it is clear that what is still hanging over their heads ... is the possibility of criminal charges."

Corruption Watch laid criminal charges against the pair last year.

Lewis said Corruption Watch was now considering its legal options with regard to obtaining a copy of Hogan Lovells' report and the final report on the disciplinary inquiry.

He said there were also questions about whether the outcome of the disciplinary process involving the two employees was subject to review.