Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Tom Moyane. Picture: SUPPLIED
Tom Moyane. Picture: SUPPLIED

President Cyril Ramaphosa has rejected demands from suspended South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane to foot his legal bills and to alter the rules of his pending disciplinary inquiry.

Moyane’s attorneys had written to Ramaphosa arguing that should the disciplinary inquiry be held in writing it would amount to a "legal oddity" as even the SARS act made provision for oral evidence. According to the disciplinary hearing’s terms of reference, handed to Moyane by the Presidency, oral evidence would be heard only at the panel chairman’s discretion.

Mabuza had also requested that Ramaphosa negotiate with the legal team on whether the state should foot the legal bills, which Moyane would incur for the duration of the disciplinary process. But Ramaphosa turned down all the requests.

Presidency spokeswoman Khusela Diko confirmed on Tuesday that Ramaphosa had rejected Moyane’s demands.

This suggested that Moyane could challenge the process in court even before it begins.

Mabuza could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Moyane’s legal team wanted the president to withdraw the inquiry’s terms of reference so that witnesses could be called and cross-examined.

Moyane was suspended in March over his handling of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report on suspicious and unusual transactions in the bank accounts of his second-in-charge, Jonas Makwakwa, and Makwakwa’s partner, SARS employee Kelly-Ann Elskie.

The disciplinary charges against Moyane centred largely on his conduct regarding the Makwakwa matter. Moyane had received the FIC report in May, but acted on it only after the allegations were published in the Sunday Times.

According to the disciplinary charges against Moyane, he had failed to ensure that SARS conducted an investigation of possible tax evasion or other breaches of the Tax Administration Act by Makwakwa and his partner.

It is alleged that Moyane also failed to co-operate with PwC, which was part of the probe into Makwakwa’s conduct and was denied access to Makwakwa’s and Elskie’s laptops and cellphones.

Meanwhile, the high court has granted an order on a settlement agreement between SARS and senior official Vlok Symington, who was allegedly held hostage by Moyane’s personal bodyguard and Hawks officers in an attempt to obtain sensitive e-mails from him.

SARS and Symington agreed to bring to an end the legal and disciplinary cases pending against all parties, including Moyane’s bodyguard, Thabo Titi.