Procedural row threatens hearing of suspended SARS chief Tom Moyane
Attorney Eric Mabuza describes the disciplinary inquiry’s rules as a ‘blatant absurdity’ and a ‘legal oddity’
A dispute over procedure threatens to derail the disciplinary hearing of suspended South African Revenue Service (SARS) boss Tom Moyane.
The disciplinary process, which is yet to take place, was expected to be held in writing. Oral evidence would only be held if the inquiry chairman deemed it necessary.
Moyane faces charges of misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities linked to his handling of allegations against second-in-command Jonas Makwakwa, making unauthorised bonus payments, misleading Parliament and instructing a SARS official not to co-operate with an inquiry by audit firm KPMG.
Moyane’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, has since written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to raise concerns about the format of the disciplinary inquiry.
Mabuza described the inquiry rules as a "blatant absurdity" and a "legal oddity".
Business Day understands that Mabuza has given Ramaphosa until Tuesday afternoon to respond favourably to his demands, which includes legal costs. It is understood that Mabuza will approach the courts if the president fails to comply with his demands.
But on Monday, the Presidency said the disciplin- ary hearing remained the "proper platform" for the suspended commissioner to air matters entailed in the process.
Presidency spokeswoman Khusela Diko confirmed receipt of the letter.
"We will respond by the set date and have nothing further to add, barring that the pending disciplinary hearing remains the proper platform for Moyane to raise all matters relating to the process," Diko said.
Moyane was suspended in March over his handling of the controversy over Makwakwa and his involvement in value-added tax (VAT) refunds, after a finding by the tax ombudsman that SARS had "unduly delayed" VAT refunds.
Corruption Watch, which had been agitating for charges to be brought against Moyane over the Makwakwa matter, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had done an about-turn and was now reviewing an earlier decision not to prosecute Moyane.
To add to Moyane’s woes, the NPA may have him in its sights for criminal prosecution. The NPA did not respond to requests for confirmation.
In the letter to Ramaphosa, Mabuza also raised concern about a "trial by media" against the suspended SARS boss.
However, Diko expressed concern about Mabuza’s "tendency" to engage the Presidency through the media.
"This is a very unfortunate trend and extremely disingenuous in light of his accusation that the Presidency has embarked on a trial by media.
"We reject his accusation with the contempt it deserves," she said.