National 15.9.2016 05:55 pm

Sars suspension opens can of worms

Sars commissioner Tom Moyane. Picture: Gallo Images

Sars commissioner Tom Moyane. Picture: Gallo Images

The suspension of Sars deputy Jonas Makwakwa by Commissioner Tom Monyane may well have unwittingly opened the door for an investigation into Monyane, although the Hawks seem hesitant about stepping through.

An e-mail apparently circulated to Sars staff yesterday by Monyane said Sars had taken “all the reasonable steps within our policies to engage with the matter”.

“I have today, 15 September 2016, issued Mr Makwakwa with a suspension letter pending a full investigation,” Monyane wrote and appealed to staff to remain focussed “and keep up the good work you are doing.”

Monyane also mentions Sars employee Kelly-Ann Elskie, yet it’s only Makwakwa who has been suspended and Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela isn’t responding to questions.

READ MORE: Sars has not informed us of Makwakwa’s suspension – National Treasury

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangweni Mulaudzi said he was aware Sars were investigating the allegations of suspicious and unusual payments of up to R1,2 million received by Makwakwa, and the R200 000 allegedly paid by Makwakwa for a Mercedes Benz for Elskie.

“They have their own investigating capability,” Mulaudzi said.

On the Hawks own website it states that according to section 34(1) of the Act, any person who holds a position of authority who knows or ought reasonably to have known or suspected that any other person has committed an offence of corruption in terms of sections 3 to 16 or 20 to 21 of the Act or theft, fraud, extortion, forgery or uttering of a forged document involving an amount of R100 000 or more, must report such knowledge or suspicion or cause such knowledge or suspicion to be reported to any police official.

Section 34(2) of the Act provides that any person who fails to report such corrupt activities is guilty of an offence.

Retired Constitutional Court Judge Johann Kriegler said if someone was aware of such corruption in their department and did not report it, they made themselves guilty of a crime.

“It’s not a strange attitude of the Hawks, it’s the law. You can’t cover up someone else’s misdemeanour, you make yourself a party to it,” Kriegler said.

“Makwakwa is a side issue at the moment although it seems to be evidence of the state of Sars under Mr Monyane.”

On Wednesday DA Shadow Minister of Finance put a question through Parliament to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan if he was aware of the payments made to Makwakwa.

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Manier said it would take approximately 10 days for Gordhan to respond.

Treasury said in a press release yesterday it had not officially been informed of Makwakwa’s suspension, although it had met Moyane and another senior official this week to discuss the issue.

“National Treasury believes that public confidence and transparency are critical in order to be seen to be doing the right thing in this matter,” Treasury said.

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