Moyane’s SARS misled parliament with ‘half-truth’

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – NOVEMBER 28, 2017: Former SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

Some SARS employees have allegedly refused to give evidence at the commission for fear that they will face reprisals.

As the Nugent commission of inquiry into SARS continues to bring the decay of what was once on of the South African state’s best-run organisations to light, an employee has admitted to misleading parliament.

Dr Thabelo Malovhele, who was a customs compliance risk and analysis expert at the time, told the commission that SARS misled parliament about having a tax compliance programme, Fin24 reports.

According to Malovhele, who is still employed at there as a domain specialist, SARS does not have a compliance programme but told parliament that they do.

The revenue service was meant to implement one, according to Malovhele.

“However, it was not implemented, so as we speak SARS does not have a compliance programme, although we have made commitments to Parliament and said we do. We don’t.”

Rather than conceding that SARS had lied to parliament, Malovhele said “well, I wouldn’t use the word lie, but we told Parliament a half-truth.”

The inquiry has also exposed an atmosphere of fear that developed under Moyane’s leadership.

READ MORE: Moyane introduced consulting firm ‘that wrecked Sars’

Some employees allegedly have refused to give evidence at the commission for fear that they will face reprisals.

One witness told Fin24 about “severely traumatic events that SARS had gone through”.

The delays in paying tax refunds was in the top three reported complaints in the South African Revenue Services (Sars), the Nugent Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

CEO in the office of the Tax Ombudsman Eric Mkhawane said that around 2016, there was a high number of complaints from tax payers with their tax refunds being withheld.

“People complained that refunds were being withheld for no good reason.”

Mkhawane explained how a taxpayer would be using the same bank account through the entire year, but when the taxpayer wants the refund, Sars would ask for bank account verification.

He said even after the cumbersome verification process, there would be up to a three month delay, he said the verification was a process adopted to eliminate fraud.

Mkhawane provided an example of a taxpayer who paid his return, but funds were also deducted from his business account to an amount of  R1.1 million.

He said the tax office gave him the runaround and frustrated him at every turn for a refund, and eventually the business was deregistered.

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