EXCLUSIVE: Tom Moyane loses all objections in disciplinary inquiry
The suspended SARS commissioner now has until August 20 to answer the charges he faces — unless he mounts a court challenge, as he has threatened
Suspended South African Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane has lost all the objections he lodged against the disciplinary inquiry he is facing.
This means the disciplinary inquiry, as well as the commission of inquiry into governance and administration at SARS, can proceed — unless Moyane takes his objections to court, which he has threatened to do.
The chairman of the inquiry, advocate Azhar Bham, in a written ruling on the objections that Business Day has seen, dismissed the objections and in light of this has directed Moyane to deliver a “substantive response” to each of the charges he faces by Monday, August 20.
Bham has also asked parties to be available between September 17 and 28 for the hearing of the disciplinary proceedings.
The three main issues were the right to oral evidence or cross-examination; the admissibility and content of the affidavit by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan in the disciplinary matter; and the “parallel inquiries” in which Moyane is at the centre.
Moyane wants the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses against him. He wants Gordhan’s affidavit to be discarded and for President Cyril Ramaphosa to halt one of the two processes under way: the disciplinary inquiry against him or the commission of inquiry into governance and administration at SARS, chaired by retired supreme court judge Robert Nugent.
In dismissing the first objection on written versus oral evidence, Bham essentially ruled that Moyane was not deprived of oral evidence as the terms of reference left this open to him to decide upon as the chairperson of the inquiry.
He agreed with Ramaphosa’s legal team on whether Gordhan had the authority to depose the affidavit in Moyane’s inquiry, indicating that Gordhan had done so as a witness, which he says does not require statutory authority.
“What is required is that they testify to matters which are in their knowledge and are relevant to the charges before me. And, on the face of the substantiation affidavit, it would appear to me that what is set out therein is relevant to the charges before me. I say this without making any comment on the correctness of the facts set out therein,” Bham said in the ruling.
On the two processes, Bham indicates that it does not fall within his “legal competence” to suspend the proceedings.
“Were I to do so I would be acting beyond my legal powers, which are determined by the terms of my appointment,” he says.