Ramaphosa shows his hand in Moy­ane case

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Loy­iso Sidimba

SUS­PENDED SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) com­mis­sioner Tom Moy­ane is a se­rial law­breaker, his con­duct un­law­ful and his con­tin­ued pres­ence at the helm of the na­tion’s tax au­thor­ity threat­ens tax moral­ity and could dam­age the key in­sti­tu­tion’s cred­i­bil­ity.

This is ac­cord­ing to an ex­plo­sive af­fi­davit by Public En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han, which has re­vealed Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s case against Moy­ane.

The af­fi­davit was filed on Wed­nes­day, after Ramaphosa missed last Fri­day’s dead­line to re­veal de­tails of the case against Moy­ane be­fore his dis­ci­plinary in­quiry, chaired by se­nior coun­sel Azhar Bham. Ramaphosa sus­pended Moy­ane in March, after in­form­ing him that he had lost con­fi­dence in his abil­ity to lead Sars, and of­fered him an op­por­tu­nity to re­sign with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Moy­ane, who de­clined Ramaphosa’s of­fer, was re­placed by the group ex­ec­u­tive re­spon­si­ble for re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment within busi­ness and in­di­vid­ual taxes, Mark Kin­gon, as act­ing com­mis­sioner.

Last month, Ramaphosa es­tab­lished a com­mis­sion of in­quiry headed by re­tired Supreme Court of Ap­peal Judge Robert Nu­gent to fo­cus on tax ad­min­is­tra­tive is­sues, like VAT re­funds and short­falls in rev­enue in the past two fi­nan­cial years.

Gord­han’s af­fi­davit shows Moy­ane faces four charges, in­clud­ing fail­ure to act against his for­mer sec­ond-in-com­mand, Jonas Mak­wakwa, Sars’ chief of­fi­cer for busi­ness and in­di­vid­ual tax, and ju­nior con­sul­tant Kelly Ann El­skie, after a con­fi­den­tial Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Cen­tre (FIC) re­port into sus­pi­cious and un­usual cash de­posits into their bank ac­counts.

Ac­cord­ing to his 69-page af­fi­davit, Gord­han, who was fi­nance min­is­ter un­til March 2017 and re­spon­si­ble for Sars, Moy­ane failed to timeously en­sure that Sars im­me­di­ately con­ducted in­ves­ti­ga­tions to re­port Mak­wakwa and El­skie to the po­lice and the Hawks.

“The al­le­ga­tions made in the FIC re­port were ex­tremely se­ri­ous with the po­ten­tial, if not han­dled cor­rectly, to dam­age the cred­i­bil­ity of Sars, tax moral­ity and the col­lec­tion of tax rev­enue,” Gord­han said.

The af­fi­davit also states that Moy­ane acted un­law­fully by dis­clos­ing the con­tents of the re­port to Mak­wakwa and El­skie with­out ob­tain­ing per­mis­sion from for­mer FIC direc­tor Mur­ray Michell, as this was pro­hib­ited by the FIC Act. Other charges in­clude Moy­ane’s uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion to in­crease salaries and im­ple­ment bonus pay­ments to se­nior ex­ec­u­tives with­out Gord­han’s ap­proval.

Gord­han re­ported the mat­ter to Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu, ar­gu­ing they were in con­tra­ven­tion of the Sars Act.

Mak­wetu found that se­nior man­agers’ salary in­creases and bonus pay­ments were not in con­tra­ven­tion of the Sars Act, but could re­sult in ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture.

Sars claimed Mak­wetu’s find­ings were a fun­da­men­tal er­ror of law, and threat­ened le­gal ac­tion, ig­nor­ing two le­gal opin­ions ob­tained by the tax­man.

Moy­ane is ac­cused of vi­o­lat­ing Sars’ code of con­duct by com­mit­ting gross mis­con­duct.

Moy­ane claimed he played no role in ap­point­ing eight debt col­lec­tors for 18 months in a deal worth more than R341 mil­lion.

One of the com­pa­nies that got a share of the debt col­lec­tion con­tract was New In­te­grated Credit So­lu­tions, which is owned by Moy­ane’s friend, Pa­trick Monyeki.

Gord­han said Moy­ane con­cealed his role in ap­prov­ing the ap­point­ment of his friend’s com­pany.

Moy­ane has two weeks to re­spond to Gord­han’s af­fi­davit.

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