Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba appears before the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into the governance and tax administration at South African Revenue Service. Photo: Brenda Masilela/African News Agency (ANA)
Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba appears before the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into the governance and tax administration at South African Revenue Service. Photo: Brenda Masilela/African News Agency (ANA)
Tom Moyane undertook a suspicious trip to Moscow. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane/African News Agency (ANA)
Tom Moyane undertook a suspicious trip to Moscow. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA - The Nugent Commission of Inquiry on Friday heard how suspended SA Revenue Services (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane undertook a suspicious trip to Moscow, which the department of international relations was not aware of, to meet Russian tax authorities.

Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told the inquiry that he was informed at the time that the trip was urgent and that he expected feedback from Moyane upon his return. 

Moyane went to Moscow in November 2017 claiming he was to meet the Russian tax authorities to sign an agreement.

"If there was anything wrong about the trip that came to my attention, I would have then taken action. I had no reason to suspect something was not right," Gigaba said on Friday, adding, however, that he never received any feedback from Moyane about the trip. 

Gigaba, who was Minister of Finance from March 31, 2017 to February 27 2018, said he discussed his concerns over Sars governance issues with Moyane on two occasions before proposing the current inquiry.

He said this decision came after he noticed that Sars did not have a good relationship with the National Treasury and he believed a commission of inquiry would investigate allegations, establish veracity and propose changes if necessary.

He conceded that maladministration at Sars contributed to a revenue collection shortfall, but added that the poorly performing economy was also a factor. 

Current finance minister Nhlanhla Nene is also expected to testify before the Nugent commission.

- African News Agency (ANA)