Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane FILE PHOTO

JOHANNESBURG- The South African Revenue Service (Sars) on Monday dismissed as "inaccurate and untrue" media reports that its embattled chief officer of business and individual tax, Jonas Makwakwa, was paid a bonus while on suspension.

"Sars finds it necessary to specifically clarify the deliberate misrepresentation of facts as this perpetuates a media-created narrative that Sars Commissioner, Tom Moyane, gives preferable treatment to Mr Makwakwa and conducts himself in a manner that contravenes the law," Sars said in a statement.

"Much as Sars Commissioner, Tom Moyane, has clarified this matter at the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) on Tuesday, Sars wishes to reiterate that, contrary to media reports, Mr Makwakwa was neither paid a bonus while on suspension nor was there any interference in the process of his suspension."

This comes after the Daily Maverick two weeks ago reported that Makwakwa received a R930,000 bonus in the 2016/2017 financial year, despite working for only six months before being suspended on allegations of corruption and money laundering. 

Makwakwa, who is widely believed to be Moyane’s number two, was reinstated on November 1, after serving a year’s suspension after the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) flagged several suspicious payments into his bank account and that of another Sars employee, Kelly-Anne Elskie.

Makwakwa was suspended last year, after the 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 Moyane took the decision to suspend Makwakwa pending an independent investigation into the allegations. The independent investigation by Advocate Motau, SC, cleared Makwakwa of  the charges leveled against him.

The reveneue service said it was "deeply concerned" that the media continues to misinform the public about the alleged payment of his bonus and the process of his suspension.

Sars said that Commissioner Moyane pointed out that he had approved the Sars executive performance bonuses for the financial year 2015/16 on 31 August 2016.

"Mr Makwakwa received a bonus payment related to this period - preceding his suspension - as he was only suspended in September 2016. The payments were based on the individual performance of each executive member, in terms of the SARS Incentive Scheme Policy," Sars said.

"These payments, amounting to R3 million, were reported in the Sars Annual Report for 2016/17, which was tabled by the Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba on Thursday, 23 November 2017."

 - AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY