JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Service (Sars) announced on Monday, its chief officer for business and individual tax (BAIT), Jonas Makwakwa, will return to the organisation after he was cleared of charges approximately a year into his suspension.
In September 2016, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) submitted a report to Sars containing some serious allegations against Makwakwa regarding how large amounts of money ended up in his bank account.
Sars then sought an outside legal opinion on the matter after the Commissioner, Tom Moyane, took the decision to suspend Makwakwa pending an independent investigation into the allegations.
International law firm, Hogan Lovells, was appointed to investigate the matter. Hogan Lovells submitted an investigation report which recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Makwakwa.
The law firm then appointed senior counsel, Advocate Terry Motau, to chair the hearing.
"Sars wishes to confirm that, Advocate Motau, SC has submitted the final report which found that Mr Makwakwa was not guilty of any of the charges levelled against him," Sars said in a statement.
"This concludes the disciplinary action against Mr Makwakwa. As result SARS will immediately implement the outcome of the hearing as is. He will return to Sars to resume his position as CO: BAIT with effect from 1 November 2017."
However, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on finance, Alf Lees, said that they have written to the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) to request that Sars be required to report in detail on the Makwakwa matter.
Lees said that this must include a detailed explanation for the return to Sars of Makwakwa; an unabridged copy of the Hogan Lovells investigation report; whether the FIC has been informed of the outcome of the Hogan Lovells investigations; and what has been the outcome of the criminal investigation into the Makwakwa matter by the Hawks.
"Despite repeated requests by the DA for progress reports on the Hogan Lovells investigation SARS have steadfastly refused to give any reports. It now appears that the Hogan Lovells investigation has been concluded and Makwakwa has returned to work," Lees said.
"Information received indicates that Makwakwa will be assigned to a new position at Sars and that all cell phones, including that of the Sars Commissioner, Tom Moyane, have been prohibited from being taken into Block A of the Sars head office in Pretoria that houses SARS senior management."
- African News Agency (ANA)