MPs get tough with Moyane and Gigaba over SARS second-in-charge
Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance has written to South African Revenue Services commissioner Tom Moyane‚ as well as Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba‚ asking for a copy of the disciplinary inquiry report on SARS second-in-charge Jonas Makwakwa and Kelly-Anne Elskie.
The committee said in a statement on Monday it was taking this step after consultation with Parliament’s Legal Services Unit.
“Although we have no evidence that Mr Makwakwa and Ms Elskie are guilty of the allegations against them‚ we still believe that it is in the public interest that the report be released. Given the role SARS plays‚ it not only has to be‚ but be seen to be above reproach‚ and perceptions of irregularities by its senior officials have to be effectively addressed‚” said Yunus Carrim‚ the chairperson of the Committee.
Carrim said taking the public into confidence in relation to the alleged irregularities is important in view of the waning public confidence in SARS‚ decreasing tax compliance amongst taxpayers and a decline in tax morality‚ which SARS has also referred to.
“With the projected shortfall of R50.8 billion in revenue for this financial year‚ we need to bolster public confidence in SARS more than ever before.
“The statement issued by SARS that Mr Makwakwa is not guilty of the charges levelled against him is terse and offers no justification for this decision‚” said Mr Carrim.
Confidentiality of internal disciplinary matters does not wash with the MPs. The statement said that if there are aspects of the report that cannot be released for legal reasons‚ "this can be negotiated between lawyers from SARS and Parliament‚ and if there is agreement on this‚ those aspects can be considered in a closed meeting or deleted from the report to be considered".
Carrim said that should SARS decide not to make the report available to the committee‚ "it will have to provide a legal justification‚ which will be referred to Parliament’s Legal Advisors to advise on".
The committee also requested the report by law firm Hogan Lovells into Makwakwa and Elskie.
In May last year the Financial Intelligence Centre reported suspect transactions amounting to R1.3 million involving Makwakwa and his girlfriend‚ Elskie‚ to SARS.
Makwakwa‚ who claimed the money was from a taxi and stokvel business‚ was suspended but has recently been cleared of wrongdoing. It was announced at the end of October that he was returning to work.