Johannesburg - It is unfair that the disciplinary hearing of suspended South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane and the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Sars are running concurrently, Moyane's advocate Dali Mpofu contended on Saturday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed retired Judge Robert Nugent to head the commission of inquiry into governance at Sars and appointed Azhar Bham to preside over Moyane's disciplinary hearing. Moyane is in an increasingly ugly legal tussle with Ramaphosa, who suspended him in March this year.
He is accused of misconduct in connection with the investigation into former senior Sars official Jonas Makwakwa and the alleged mismanagement of VAT refunds which allegedly “brought Sars into serious disrepute”.
At Moyane's disciplinary hearing on Saturday, Mpofu said the overlap between the Nugent and Bham inquiries created an unfair situation. "The argument that one is a disciplinary and one is an inquiry doesn’t matter. Both ought to be fair," he said.
Previously, at the Nugent commission, Mpofu submitted that the inquiry into the operation of Sars should be halted pending Moyane's disciplinary hearing. Nugent dismissed Moyane’s request to halt the commission, describing the submission as disgraceful.
Advocate Heidi Barnes, representing Ramaphosa, said the processes may overlap. She gave as an example, "an employee being subject to internal disciplinary process at work on allegations of fraud as well as being subject to criminal charges".
“The terms of reference are clear and entirely lawful and fair. All that you are empowered to do, chair, is to conduct this disciplinary inquiry with reference to the terms of reference,” she said to Bham.
She rejected arguments of a conspiracy in the timing of the Nugent commission and the disciplinary inquiry.
African News Agency/ANA