The DA has written to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF), Yunus Carrim MP, asking him to request SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, to submit the Hogan Lovells and Adv. Motau reports on Jonas Makwakwa before 13 March 2017.
Moyane is scheduled to appear before SCOF on the 13th of March 2017 and it is essential that these reports are submitted in time to enable Parliament to perform its oversight function on the controversial circumstances that saw Makwakwa reinstated as the second in command at SARS.
Should Moyane fail to submit the reports as requested, I will recommend that Parliament considers taking legal action to force him to release the reports.
Makwakwa’s suspension, triggered by findings made by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), was controversially lifted based on reports conducted by Hogan Lovells and Adv. Motau. This was despite the fact that these reports did not investigate the allegations that the suspension was based on.
Moyane has done everything in his power to protect Makwakwa even to the point of misleading and possibly lying to Parliament, as reported in the Daily Maverick on the 7th of March 2018.
The DA will ensure that when Moyane’s appearance before SCOF is used to make him account on why Makwakwa was reinstated after being suspended over serious allegations of involvement in illegal activates and financial crimes.
Moyane must understand that the ‘jig is up’ and his attempts to further delay the release of the Lovells and Motau reports only serves to cast doubt over his suitability to continue leading the tax revenue service.
South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner, Tom Moyane, has written a threatening letter to Yunus Carrim, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, insinuating that distribution of an FIC report implicating Jonas Makwakwa in financial misconduct was illegally tabled at the parliamentary finance committee.
The FIC report has been publicly available on the internet, but instead of taking action on its findings, Mr Moyane seems to be working tirelessly to stop those implicated from being held to account.
I have therefore written to Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Finance, urging him to:
• to ensure that Tom Moyane suspends Mr Jonas Makwakwa from his duties at SARS with immediate effect, at the very least until the Hawks investigations into possible money laundering of the proceeds of crime have been completed.
• work with the Minister of Police to ensure that the Hawks investigations into possible money laundering of the proceeds of crime by Mr Makwakwa and Ms Elskie are dealt with urgently.
It is not acceptable that Mr Tom Moyane, as a civil servant, can put Parliament on trial by demanding that the Parliamentary legal adviser provide the link on the internet from which the FIC report was obtained.
Worse still, 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.
This tactic by Moyane is not going to work and only reinforces my resolve to exercise my oversight function without fear or favour.
In the interests of good governance, Mr Moyane’s concern must be to ensure that action is taken on the findings made in the FIC report and the subsequent Hogan Lovells, PWC and Advocate Motoa reports on the Makwakwa issue. These reports must be made public in order to show all South Africans that SARS Mr Moyane is serious about restoring the reputation of SARS.
The DA will hold Mr Moyane and SARS to account until sanity is restored at the tax collection authority.
Today’s Standing Committee on Finance meeting not only revealed that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) splurged R930 000 on the SARS Chief Officer of Business and Individual Taxes, Jonas Makwakwa’s, bonus but it is now also clear that SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, failed to place any emphasis on the ongoing investigations.
When the Committee reconvenes on Thursday, the DA will again grill SARS to get clear answers about:
- Why Makwakwa’s suspension has been lifted without being cleared from criminal investigations;
- Why he received a lucrative and unauthorised handout before his suspension; and
- Why Moyane is not taking the allegations and subsequent investigations into his right hand man, seriously.
The SARS investigation into Makwakwa did not focus on the allegations of criminal activity.
Makwakwa’s suspension has been lifted based on an investigation report conducted by Hogan Lovells which did not deal with any criminal allegations as raised by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). In addition to the Hogan Lovells investigation there are still pending investigations, one of which is being conducted by the Hawks.
It is therefore mind boggling that Moyane has lifted Makwakwa’s suspension without these investigations being concluded.
Moyane’s continued obfuscation and refusal to provide full answers during the Committee meeting is deeply concerning as it indicates that he may not believe that he is accountable to Parliament.
The credit ratings agency’s recent announcements incontrovertibly confirmed that under Moyane, SARS has experienced severe institutional decay.
It was even implicit in National Treasury’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) document that the responsibility for the colossal R50.8 billion revenue shortfall is in part due to the poor performance of SARS and their effectiveness at collecting revenue under Moyane.
SARS is vital for the South African economy to function. However, further weakening of SARS will create an even greater trust deficit which the South African economy simply cannot afford.
The DA will continue fight to restore SARS to the quality institution that it used to be.
The DA has been reliably informed that Mr Jonas Makwakwa, who has been on special leave pending the outcome of an investigation into how large amounts of money ended up in his bank account, will return to work any day now.
The DA has therefore written to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) to request that SARS be required to report in detail on the Makwakwa matter.
This must include:
- A detailed explanation for the alleged return to SARS of Jonas Makwakwa;
- An unabridged copy of the Hogan Lovells investigation report;
- Whether the Financial Intelligence Centre has been informed of the outcome of the Hogan Lovells investigations; and
- What has been the outcome of the criminal investigation into the Makwakwa/Elskie matter by the Hawks?
On the 15th of September 2016, SARS commissioned Hogan Lovells to investigate FICA referrals that large amounts of cash deposited into Makwakwa’s as well as Kelly-Ann Elskie bank accounts.
Despite repeated requests by the DA for progress reports on the Hogan Lovells investigation SARS have steadfastly refused to give any reports.
It now appears that the Hogan Lovells investigation has been concluded and Makwakwa has returned to work.
Information received indicates that Makwakwa will be assigned to a new position at SARS and that all cell phones, including that of the SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, have been prohibited from being taken into Block A of the SARS Head Office in Pretoria that houses SARS senior management.
SARS must confirm Makwakwa’s return and fully account for it.
South African Revenue Service commissioner, Tom Moyane, has notified the Standing Committee on Finance of his “dissatisfaction” with KPMG International’s handling of the controversy surrounding the SARS “rogue unit”.
SARS’ investigative review culminated in KPMG South Africa producing a forensic audit report entitled “Report on Allegations of Irregularities and Misconduct”, dated 04 December 2015, parts of which were subsequently repudiated by KPMG International.
The commissioner seems to want the committee to scrutinise KPMG International’s handling of the controversy surrounding the SARS “rogue unit”, when the committee should, in fact, be scrutinising SARS’ handling of the controversy surrounding the SARS “rogue unit”.
I have, therefore, written to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, requesting him to schedule hearings to scrutinise SARS’ investigative review of the so-called SARS “rogue unit”.
To properly scrutinise SARS’ investigative review of the SARS “rogue unit”, it is imperative that the committee be granted access to a number of documents, prior to the hearing commencing, including:
- a copy of the final report, entitled “Report on Allegations of Irregularities and Misconduct”, dated 04 December 2015, received by SARS;
- a copy of the draft report, entitled “Report on Allegations of Irregularities and Misconduct”, dated 03 September 2015, received by SARS;
- copies of any other drafts of the report, entitled “Report on Allegations of Irregularities and Misconduct”, dated before 03 September 2015, received by SARS;
- a copy of the Service Level Agreement between SARS and KPMG South Africa;
- copies of all communication between SARS and KPMG South Africa on the mandate extension to include conclusions, recommendations and legal opinions, referred to in KPMG International’s press statement dated 15 September 2017; and
- copies of all communication between (a) SARS and KPMG South Africa and (b) SARS and KPMG International relating to KPMG South Africa’s investigative review of the SARS “rogue unit”.
It’s time for the Standing Committee on Finance to step up and fulfil its constitutional obligation to scrutinise the controversy surrounding the SARS “rogue unit”, which it has failed to do for years in Parliament.
The South African Revenue Service Commissioner, Tom Moyane, potentially misled South Africans when he claimed that the revenue service reached its revised target of R1.14 trillion for the 2016/17 fiscal year.
The commissioner claimed he would deal with “the elephant in the room”, but then did exactly the opposite, and did not disclose the amount owing in VAT refunds as of 31 March 2017.
The commissioner simply cannot claim to have reached the revised target if there are significant amounts outstanding in VAT refunds, which we know amounted to R19.6 billion as of 28 February 2017.
I will, therefore, write to the SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane, requesting him to disclose the total amount of VAT refunds outstanding as of 31 March 2017.
We cannot have a situation where the SARS potentially misleads the public about its performance in terms of revenue collection into the 2016/17 fiscal year.
The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement by the Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, that he will conduct an investigation into systemic failures at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) that result in the reported delays in tax refunds.
These delays are across the board and include VAT, Income Tax, Employee Tax Incentives and Diesel refunds which are causing considerable financial distress to businesses, especially small businesses.
Tom Moyane, the SARS Commissioner, has repeatedly claimed, in responses to questions from the DA, that there are no problems with the various types of tax refunds and that SARS is in fact performing exceptionally well in paying refunds promptly.
This has been contradicted by the exceptionally high number of calls to the DA and to professional accounting bodies for assistance from taxpayers who state that SARS have not paid the refunds to promptly.
On the 3rd of February 2017, I wrote to Minister Gordhan to request that he use the recently enacted section 16(1)(b) of the Tax Administration Act to request the Tax Ombud conduct an investigation into systemic and process failures that result in the reported delays in large numbers of tax refunds.
What has become apparent is that SARS appears to abuse aspects of tax laws that allow for extended time for audits, document requests and other delaying tactics. This may enable SARS to artificially inflate their revenue collections and reach their targets.
The DA is of the firm belief that no money from business, especially small businesses, should be abused to assist the government’s cash flow or to assist SARS to achieve target revenue collections.
What is worse is that almost every single taxpayer who raises a complaint about SARS delays with refunds expresses great frustration that SARS simply fail to keep taxpayers informed of what they require and request the same supporting documentation over and over again.
Despite taxpayers sending documents by e-mail, via e-Filing or even hand delivering hard copies, SARS claim not to have received the documentation and then SARS places the on taxpayers.
It appears that a crisis has developed inside SARS, especially under the leadership of Commissioner Moyane, as there is a climate of low morale, divisions and weak management which is now hindering the collection of revenue.
The DA urges the Tax Ombud to work swiftly and thoroughly to investigate both systemic and process failures in order to deal with what is clearly a major concern for businesses and ultimately for economic growth and job creation.