The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has defended its decision to allow its senior executive, Jonas Makwakwa, to return to work despite facing serious allegations of tax evasion and money laundering. Briefing Parliament’s standing committee on finance on Tuesday, SARS officials — led by commissioner Tom Moyane — said according to the legal advice they had received there was no legal basis to keep Makwakwa on suspension until investigations into his affairs were completed. Keeping him on suspension would violate his rights, said Refiloe Mokoena, SARS’s chief officer of legal counsel. ANC MP Derek Hanekom pointed out that there were many instances where individuals were suspended pending the conclusion of a probe. He asked why Makwakwa had been reinstated despite the fact that investigations against him had not yet been concluded. The Makwakwa matter has added pressure to the embattled tax authority, which has recently courted bad publicity. SARS is also facing a R50bn deficit in ...

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