Fire Tom Moyane now, Nugent tells President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa must fire suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane immediately - regardless of what the outcome of his disciplinary inquiry is.
This is the recommendation made by Judge Robert Nugent in his interim report submitted to Ramaphosa as hearings by the commission continue this week.
The report, seen by TimesLIVE, noted that Ramaphosa must give Moyane the boot and appoint a new commissioner as a first step to solving the problems plaguing SARS.
“We stress that the replacement of Mr Moyane is not a panacea, but only the first necessary measure without which there is no possibility of rectifying the damage that has been done to Sars, and any further recommendations will be fruitless…” Nugent’s report read.
He said it was important that they make the recommendation to fire Moyane now and not wait for the final report to be made public. Nugent is expected to wrap up his work by December.
“We are aware that disciplinary proceedings are pending against Mr Moyane but we consider that to be irrelevant to our recommendation. Our concern is not disciplinary transgression but instead the management of SARS,” Nugent said in his report.
We are aware that disciplinary proceedings are pending against Mr Moyane but we consider that to be irrelevant to our recommendation.
He said it was imperative that a new commissioner be appointed “to remove the uncertainty of Sars and enable it to be set on a firm course of recovery so as to arrest ongoing loss of revenue”.
“To inspire confidence in a new commissioner of Sars the commission further recommends that he or she be appointed through an open and transparent process that is subject to critical appraisal, but without compromising the urgency of the appointment.”
While Nugent was investigating mismanagement at Sars, Moyane has been subject to a disciplinary inquiry headed by Advocate Azhar Bham. The suspended commissioner has since approached the Constitutional Court to set aside as unconstitutional Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint the Nugent commission as well as his disciplinary hearing.
Nugent has since argued that the apex court should not hear Moyane’s application.
In his report to Ramaphosa, the judge went for the jugular saying “the day Mr Moyane took office was a calamity for Sars”.
Nugent added: “Almost immediately, and then continuously for the next eighteen months, Sars was thrown into turmoil with tragic consequences for the lives of many people, tragic consequences for the reputation of Sars and tragic consequences for the country at large.”
The report lambasted Moyane, saying his personal interests and ambitions were holding the proper functioning of Sars hostage.
Moyane further faced the wrath of Nugent for not being present during hearings and not responding to the accusations made against him.
“It is perfectly clear that Mr Moyane has no intention of engaging with the commission of confronting the evidence that has been presented and has no intention of accounting for his tenure as commissioner of Sars. That is not the character of a person fit to lead a vital public institution,” Nugent noted.
He dubbed the current state of Sars as “disturbing” and added that urgent intervention was required if the ongoing loss was to be arrested.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed he had received the report.
“The president is applying his mind to the recommendations with the understanding that it is an interim report with a view that a final report is due in December,” she said.
Moyane’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, said he had not received the report and did not want to comment. “I don’t know what report because remember, we didn’t participate in the Nugent Inquiry,” he said.