International law firm Hogan Lovells on Wednesday denied it had been involved in a “whitewash” when it probed former South African Revenue Service (Sars) senior official Jonas Makwakwa prior to a disciplinary hearing clearing him.
Briefing Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts, Hogan Lovells chairman Lavery Modise said their letter of engagement dictated they look into whether several suspicious payments into the then chief officer of business and individual tax’s personal bank accounts between 2010 and 2016, amounting to more than R2 million, was in breach of the revenue service’s “internal policies and/or the Public Finance Management Act”.
Modise said his law firm was never contracted to look into whether Makwakwa’s actions amounted to criminal conduct. This, he said, was the job of the country’s law enforcement agencies.
Former Sars boss Tom Moyane suspended Makwakwa in 2016 following a report by the Financial Intelligence Centre flagging the suspicious payments. Hogan Lovells was contracted and compiled a report concluding disciplinary charges against Makwakwa be preferred. The disciplinary hearing, based on the law firm’s report, ultimately cleared Moyane’s number two.
Makwakwa returned to his position in November last year, but resigned in March after fresh allegations of corruption emerged.
Moyane was then suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa before a disciplinary inquiry into the former’s management of the Makwakwa matter was meant to resume.
– African News Agency (ANA)