Suspended South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane has denied he asked an employee not to cooperate in an investigation into the so-called “rogue unit”.
A recording emerged this week in which, according to News24, Moyane is heard instructing employee Helgard Lombard to feign illness should auditing firm KPMG contact him in connection with its investigation.
The firm reportedly wanted an interview with Lombard in connection with the unit, which was accused of illegally spying on taxpayers.
Moyane’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, rubbished the allegation, questioning the timing of its leaking to the public.
“Ask yourself why are they not putting info before the inquiry, why are they relying on leaks?” Mabuza said. “The commissioner is on record that he denies all of the charges levelled against him without fail, including any recordings generated by the ‘rogue unit’ and its founders, who currently serve in government.
“His denial covers all the allegations which have been written by Minister [Pravin] Gordhan last week and predictably leaked to embedded journalists even before his lawyers were served with the minister’s affidavit.
“It also covers this latest alleged recording which seemingly contains the big ‘revelation’ that an employee had earlier reported himself to be sick to his boss and was having some kind of a follow-up conversation.”
Moyane, who was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year after refusing to resign, is facing 12 charges of misconduct and violating his duties as Sars commissioner.
He was last week served with a detailed account of the charges to be presented to him at his disciplinary hearing. The inquiry will be presided over by advocate Azhar Bham.
Moyane cast aspersions on the state’s evidence against his client.
“If this is the kind of nonsense for which the commissioner was suspended, thereby threatening the entire economy of South Africa,” Mabuza said, “all we can say is our own country needs serious prayer.”
Meanwhile Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela said he could not comment on the leaked recording, saying the matter was being handled by the presidency.