Former head of the tax service Tom Moyane has posted parts of a letter on Twitter seeking to dispel what he describes as a “repeated narrative” that he disbanded the illicit financial flows (IFF) unit after beginning his tenure as commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars).
Some believe what Moyane calls the IFF, a unit led by Johann van Loggerenberg, was disbanded by Moyane, with Fin24 reporting that it was “one of several shut down under the now infamous business restructure model ordered by suspended tax chief Tom Moyane”.
However, the former Sars boss said he only disbanded the so-called rogue unit – which he said was completely separate – following the recommendations of the Sikhakhane panel.
In 2015, the panel issued a report declaring the establishment of the “rogue unit” unlawful. Moyane acted on the panel’s recommendations and disbanded the unit.
Mail & Guardian reports that the unit was established by Ivan Pillay and Pete Richer in 2007 and was later managed by Van Loggerenberg. It was reportedly meant to investigate high-risk tax and customs offences involving organised crime.
At the Nugent commission looking into the problems that befell Sars, former head of compliance at the revenue service Gene Ravele said the “rogue unit” was crucial in busting criminal activities.
Moyane, however, said it would have been “far fetched and ambitious” to expect the so-called rogue unit to involve itself in illicit financial flows, “as most of these guys had f*kol understanding of tax and statistical data analysis considering their training and background,” which, he alleges, was in intelligence.
According to Moyane, the unit was “recruited from military intelligence and [the] National Intelligence Agency, with intelligence/spying capability being the main job description”.
“IFF is a highly skilled tax type that most countries, let alone SA, are struggling with, and to suggest that the unit members dealt with IFF is rather ridiculous and insulting,” Moyane added.
According to him, the “rogue unit” specialised “in following or spying on traders, citizens, taxpayers [and] current and former Sars employees” who were accused of illegal activities following seven “independent investigations”.
Moyane joined Twitter in July, posting a video to prove the account’s authenticity, saying he had decided to sign up for an account in the hope of participating in “greater dialogue and discourse”.
The former Sars commission has previously denied accusations that he used the Sikhakhane panel as a political tool.
“It is alleged by the media and others that not only did I use the advocate Sikhakhane panel report to ‘purge the good guys’ but that I also used the case to get to Minister Gordhan for political reasons. All of which are untruthful,” Moyane said in a statement.
There has been a repeated narrative that upon my arrival at SARS, I disbanded the Illicit Financial Flow (IFF) unit, NOT TRUE.
I disbanded the rogue unit as per Adv Sikhakhane panel, not IFF unit. RU was not doing IFF work & had no skills for such complex work. C context below pic.twitter.com/kOBTuUcLmq
— T S Moyane (@t_moyane) August 4, 2019