Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Tom Moyane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Tom Moyane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Former South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane is in hot water again, with the Hawks on Tuesday confirming it had launched a separate investigation into him.

Although he refused to disclose the nature of the investigation, Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said it was not related to the unusual transactions in the account of Moyane’s former deputy, Jonas Makwakwa.

Moyane’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, said he was unaware of the criminal processes as he was dealing only with the disciplinary inquiry. Moyane could not be reached for comment.

Moyane enjoyed political protection under former president Jacob Zuma, who failed to act against him in the face of mounting evidence of misconduct. President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended Moyane in March citing a loss of confidence in his ability to run SARS and waning public confidence.

But the net is tightening around the suspended SARS boss, with Parliament set to grill the tax agency on Wednesday over the main charge in Moyane’s disciplinary case — his handling of the Makwakwa matter — in addition to the ongoing probes by the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Moyane is facing a disciplinary inquiry into his conduct while at the helm of SARS after Corruption Watch laid criminal charges against him over his handling of the Makwakwa matter. But the police appear to have moved beyond this.

The civil society organisation last week announced that the NPA had indicated it was reviewing its decision not to prosecute Moyane.

NPA spokeswoman Phindi Louw confirmed on Tuesday that it had referred a potential criminal case against Moyane to the head of the specialised commercial crimes unit, Marshall Mokgathle, for further investigation and for a review of the directorate’s earlier decision not to prosecute him.

Mulaudzi said the investigation into Moyane was scheduled to wrap up by the end of May. It is understood that various statements are being sought, including one from Moyane.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa moved to eliminate any "possible perception of bias" in the Moyane inquiry by replacing chairwoman Kate O’Regan with Azhar Bham, despite stating that he had confidence in her ability to be objective.

Moyane’s attorney appeared to be attempting to stall the disciplinary process — first by challenging procedural flaws of the inquiry and then objecting to O’Regan because she sits on the Corruption Watch board.