Moyane trying to 'intimidate' parly committee: DA

14 December 2017 - 12:07
By Kyle Cowan
Tom Moyane
Image: Esa Alexander Tom Moyane

South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane has been accused of trying to intimidate the parliamentary committee on finance by threatening legal action.

According to a statement issued by DA MP Alf Lees‚ Moyane addressed a "threatening" letter to the committee’s chairman‚ Yunus Carrim‚ which states that the distribution of the Financial Intelligence Centre report that led to the suspension of Moyane’s number two man at SARS‚ Jonas Makwakwa‚ was illegal.

Makwakwa‚ largely regarded as Moyane’s right-hand man within SARS‚ was suspended in September 2016‚ along with his girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elskie‚ also a SARS employee.

This after large cash deposits into their bank accounts were flagged by the Financial Intelligence Centre.

Moyane was made aware of the FIC report in May 2016 and was not supposed to disclose the contents of the report to Makwakwa‚ but he did.

Makwakwa was only suspended following a report by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism‚ which revealed the suspicious transactions.

Makwakwa was suspended for a year while a disciplinary hearing chaired by Advocate Motau SC was conducted. Numerous problems were identified with the hearing‚ including that Makwakwa was not asked to answer to all the allegations against him.

But on October 30‚ SARS announced that he had been cleared of wrongdoing and would be returning to work.

Law firm Hogan Lovells was hired to determine if Makwakwa had contravened his employment conditions and found he had not. However‚ the firm did state that criminal investigations were still under way.

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act prohibits the publication of the centre’s reports.

In his letter to the committee chair‚ Moyane complains that members of the committee had been provided with copies of the FIC report by parliamentary legal advisor Frank Jenkins on the justification that it was already in the public domain‚ having been published by the Daily Maverick.

Moyane asked Carrim to ask Jenkins to provide the link to the Daily Maverick article "to demonstrate the report being in the public domain". He said SARS had failed in its attempt to access and retrieve the report from the newspaper's website.

"We have sought legal guidance and have been advised that the Daily Maverick website and/or those who distributed the report may have violated the FIC Act‚" Moyane told Carrim in his letter.

"SARS believes that we are obligated to report the matter to the FIC director and we will proceed to report the matter urgently."

Lees says he has written to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba‚ asking him to ensure Moyane suspends Makwakwa immediately‚ until the Hawks have finalised their probe.

"The claim in Mr Moyane’s letter that the FIC report in my possession was somehow illegal is a clear attempt to intimidate and stop me from holding SARS to account‚" Lees said.

"This tactic by Moyane is not going to work and only reinforces my resolve to exercise my oversight function without fear or favour."