DA, IFP wel­come Sars boss’ de­ci­sion to re­sign

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

TWO OP­PO­SI­TION par­ties have wel­comed the res­ig­na­tion of South African Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) com­mis­sioner Oupa Ma­gashula fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions of al­leged mis­con­duct.

The Trea­sury an­nounced Ma­gashula’s res­ig­na­tion yes­ter­day.

“Fol­low­ing the out­come of a fact-find­ing in­quiry into th­ese al­le­ga­tions, Ma­gashula has re­signed with ef­fect from July 12, 2013,” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han an­nounced.

Last night DA MP Tim Har­ris ap­plauded Gord­han’s move “to en­sure the in­tegrity of the tax au­thor­ity is pro­tected”.

The DA also wel­comed Gord­han’s de­ci­sion to ap­point Sars deputy com­mis­sioner Ivan Pil­lay to the po­si­tion in an act­ing ca­pac­ity, but wanted a per­ma­nent ap­point­ment as soon as “prac­ti­cally pos­si­ble”.

The Inkatha Freedom Party also wel­comed the de­ci­sion.

“It is crit­i­cal the in­sti­tu­tional in­tegrity of Sars is main­tained, and there­fore the res­ig­na­tion of com­mis­sioner Ma­gashula must be wel­comed,” party spokesman Narend Singh said.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports in March this year Ma­gashula al­legedly of­fered a job to a char­tered ac­coun­tant ( CA) in a recorded tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion. The con­ver­sa­tion was re­port­edly fa­cil­i­tated by a Ti­mothy Marimuthu, who al­legedly had in­flu­ence over Ma­gashula.

Gord­han said the me­dia re­ports had raised ques­tions about the in­tegrity of staff re­cruit­ment pro­cesses at Sars, and he had ap­pointed re­tired judge Zak Ya­coob and ad­vo­cate Muzi Sikhakhane to in­ves­ti­gate.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed, among other things, that Ma­gashula’s con­duct had placed the rep­u­ta­tion and cred­i­bil­ity of Sars at risk. The com­mis­sioner had also been much less frank with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion com­mit­tee than it would have ex­pected, and had caused Gord­han to make an in­cor­rect state­ment to the pub­lic about the CA’s CV not hav­ing been sent to Sars.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed Ma­gashula in­ter­acted with Marimuthu more times than he had ini­tially ad­mit­ted to the min­is­ter and the com­mit­tee. He also told them he’d had no fur­ther com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the CA, but it later tran­spired the ac­coun­tant had sent five e-mails to Ma­gashula’s Sars e-mail ad­dress.

Al­le­ga­tions of Marimuthu’s in­flu­ence over Ma­gashula could not be probed be­cause he had not re­sponded pos­i­tively to a re­quest for an in­ter­view.

Gord­han said he would in­struct the Sars au­dit com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate whether Ma­gashula’s be­hav­iour breached any tax pro­cesses. He would also ap­point a com­mit­tee to re­view Sars’ gov­er­nance. – Sapa

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