'Moyane reassigned Sars internal corruption detectives to checking sick notes'

26 September 2018 - 11:55
Suspended SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane.
Suspended SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane.
Image: ALON SKUY

A senior manager at the South African Revenue Service has described how a unit responsible for internal investigations into large-scale corruption within the institution was reduced to probing fraudulent sick notes and travel claims.

Witness X‚ whose identity cannot be revealed due to the nature of her job and close proximity to criminal investigations‚ described how the internal investigations component of the anti-corruption unit in Sars was broken down under now-suspended commissioner Tom Moyane’s new organisational model.

The witness was testifying at Judge Robert Nugent’s commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars on Wednesday.

She said months after Moyane took over in 2014‚ emails were sent to managers of anti-corruption units saying changes would be made under a new operating model. Her unit was renamed and onwards reported to different people.

She said her team‚ which worked on corruption syndicates operating within Sars or involving staff at the organisation‚ was left to work on “rats and mice cases".

“[The new operating model] had a severe impact. One was the types of cases we were doing. We moved from working on syndicates to 'rats and mice cases' like behavioral issues and fraudulent sick-leave notes‚” witness X said.

“We moved from investigating syndicated crime to investigating sick-leave fraud and kilometre (travel) claims. The reporting of cases to us dropped. The morale of the whole team was really broken. You are being pushed from pillar to post‚ there is no champion for anti corruption in the organisation… We were not combatting corruption with the same strength and capability as we did in the past.”

The commission will on Wednesday also hear testimony from Sars' senior manager for fraud investigations Yousuf Denath.

X