Commission of Inquiry into SARS commences today

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Cape Town – The Nugent Commission of Inquiry started in Pretoria where the leadership of suspended South African Revenue Services commissioner Tom Moyane will be discussed. The commission will be led by Judge Robert Nugeni who has been investigating administration and governance under Moyane.

Today’s proceedings saw representatives of the National Treasury shedding light on the effects of SARS under Moyane.

Director-General Dondo Mogajane and deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat testified on behalf of the Treasury today. Mogajane says that the management at SARS has diminished in recent years and each year the involvement of the commissioner decreased. This provided challenges for the Treasury and SARS relationship.

Momoniat claimed that the VAT increase could have been prevented if it were not for SARS’ deficit. The head of the tax and financial sector expressed his frustrations at the hazy state SARS was in under Moyane’s leadership. He said that it is important to ensure transparency to ensure that tax is managed correctly.

Momoniat raised his concerns about external legal parties being approached to investigate the matters at SARS instead of utilising the internal legal resources. It is especially alarming to him that the internal unit was not aware of the quarrels SARS was facing. He suggested that a similar structure to the Reserve Bank should be practised at SARS. In this way, there is an independent board chaired by a governor.

The commission will continue on Thursday, where representatives from consulting firm Bain and Company will be expected to appear. The consulting firm is under scrutiny following information that its diagnostic reports were based on reports that were not accurate and information that had not been updated. Representatives from Bain and Company remain adamant that their evidence will reflect the transparency in their methods.

The Commission of Inquiry will be concluded on Friday where Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and former finance minister Malusi Gigaba are expected to appear.

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