CAPE TOWN - South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane on Friday denied any involvement in approving a value-added tax (VAT) refunds to Oakbay, a company linked to the controversial Gupta family, through a third party.
In a statement, the Sars lashes out at the Daily Maverick for a report stating Moyane aided money laundering when he allegedly pressured officials within the revenue service to make payments into the accounts of a third party last year after the four major banks in South Africa closed the bank accounts of Gupta-linked companies.
Emails reportedly obtained by the Daily Maverick's investigative team Scorpio show a complaint by Oakbay’s Ronica Ragavan to Moyane. Sars said this was forwarded on and any subsequent decisions were not Moyane's.
"The undeniable fact that must be stated unambiguously is that at no point did the SARS Commissioner instruct any SARS employee on how to deal with the Oakbay matter," Sars said.
"The referral of the complaint by the Commissioner to other units of SARS was forwarded by his office as received by Oakbay, with no irregular action on his part."
Sars said it had an obligation to refund money that is "properly payable to a taxpayer".
The decision to make a payment into the account of a third party was approved by Sars' head of legal, the revenue service said, insisting all was above board.
".SARS had previously received a similar request that a VAT refund be paid into a third party account. In this case, too, the legal position adopted by SARS was that this could be done and was not illegal," the statement said.
"The conclusion that the Commissioner’s silence and his non-participation in the exchange of emails among legal experts amounts to agreement with one or other view is frankly absurd."
African News Agency/ANA