Professor Michael Katz, Judge Robert Nugent, Vuyo Kahla and Advocate Mabongi Masilo at the SARS Commission of inquiry. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - One of the key witnesses in the investigation of fraud and corruption in the SA Revenue Service (Sars) since the appointment of suspended commissioner Tom Moyane has expressed concern over the lack of protection for whistle-blowers.

National Treasury head of procurement Solly Tshitangano was testifying for a second time before the Nugent Commission about rampant procurement irregularities since Moyane took over. Tshitangano initially testified about the fraudulent awarding of a R200million tender to Bain Consulting Agency, to do a failed turnaround strategy at Sars.

Bain’s strategy, the commission heard, led to the increase of illicit flow of money, increase in cigarette syndicates as well as organised crime.

Yesterday, Tshitangano said that since his initial testimony last month, an alleged “pro-corruption group” and those perceived to be close to Moyane had opened a criminal case against him at Sunnyside police station. He said his accusers had told the police he “has millions in his bank accounts”.

Tshitangano made the remarks when he implicated Moyane in the awarding of a multimillion IT tender to Gartner SA without following a competitive bidding process in December 2014 - three months after his appointment.

Sars had an IT contract with EOH Mthombo, but that contract ended without any explanation.

According to Tshitangano, Sars officials invited Gartner to attend a meeting with them on December 18, 2014. He said no minutes and award letters of the tenders were given to the National Treasury.

One of the controversial tenders was for IT strategy and modernisation.

He said the tender was for R12.9million, but Sars and Gartner had, for the past weeks, failed to provide the Treasury with the minutes and terms of references of the tenders.

Tshitangano said phase 2 of the contract was R144.4m.

Tshitangano told the commission that all these tenders were awarded without tender procurement processes. The commission heard how Gartner invoiced Sars but failed to provide time sheets between March and May 2015.

“There is something wrong with our Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act. They were written as if we were going to be managed by saints and angels, but it was not the case in Sars and other departments.

“These irregular payments to Gartner show that our institutions, including Sars, were governed by unethical leaders,” Tshitangano said.

He said Moyane approved payments. He said one contract ends in 2020, and Sars was continuing to pay.

“Where were the whistle-blowers? The reason is that there is no effective protection of whistle-blowers and anti-corruption individuals,” noted Tshitangano.

Political Bureau