Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Bain & Company partner Vittorio Massone was a no show at the Sars inquiry on Tuesday, resulting in many more unanswered questions about its role in the destruction of the tax agency. 

Massone was represented by his legal counsel who told the commission that the Bain partner was in Italy — his home country — after falling ill. 

Chair of the commission — which is investigating the actions of suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane — retired judge Robert Nugent repeatedly expressed his frustration at the turn of events as key questions emerging from affidavits submitted by Massone went unanswered due to his absence. 

On Tuesday, the inquiry heard evidence indicating that before setting foot in the door at Sars, Massone recommended a far-reaching overhaul of the tax agency to Moyane — who was a full year away from even being appointed to the Sars helm. 

Nugent laid into Bain — who was represented by US-based Stuart Min — saying its statement released earlier this month in which it said it was co-operating with the inquiry was misleading because Bain was, in fact, not co-operating. 

"I don't think you are co-operating with the commission, Mr Min, and I may find that," said a visibly irritated Nugent after a heated grilling of the Bain representative over the company's delays and failure to provide key documents requested by the commission.

Nor had Bain informed the commission that it was setting aside the R164m it earned from the Sars contract, to be used as directed by the commission. Nugent asked why the commission itself was not informed of this and questioned Bain's sincerity in its conduct towards the inquiry. 

The commission is set to continue on Tuesday afternoon with evidence from the Treasury on key procurement contracts entered into by Sars. 

MarrianN@Businesslive.co.za