Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane during a press conference in illovo. Picture: ALON SKUY
Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane during a press conference in illovo. Picture: ALON SKUY

Retired judge Robert Nugent has submitted his interim report to President Cyril Ramaphosa on the commission into governance and administrative problems at Sars.

According to the commission’s terms and reference, the interim report was to be submitted to the president on September 30.  

Evidence given at the commission has suggested that changes made at Sars under now-suspended commissioner Tom Moyane weakened a once world-class tax agency, resulting in revenue shortfalls that eventually contributed to SA raising VAT for the first time in 25 years, hitting the nation’s poorest the hardest.

The presidency confirmed that it had received Nugent’s interim report. “[The president] will consider it and wait for the final report in December,” spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

It is likely that Nugent, who heads the inquiry, will recommend that Moyane be fired.

Moyane launched an application in the Constitutional Court on Monday, challenging the legality of separate inquiries into governance at the agency and his fitness to hold office.

In his application he said Nugent had written to his attorneys on September 7 2018, indicating that in his interim report to Ramaphosa, the retired judge would “recommend … that in the interest of Sars and the country, [commissioner Moyane] should immediately be removed from office”.

Moyane said his lawyers had responded to Nugent, and demanded that he refrain from making such recommendations and sought an undertaking in this regard. He alleged that Nugent was threatening to recommend his axing “without having been given the pretence of a hearing”.

In July, Nugent dismissed Moyane’s request to halt the commission of inquiry, describing the embattled commissioner’s submission to him as “disgraceful”, “loose with facts”, and “littered with abuse, invective and sinister suggestions”.

Moyane wanted Nugent to halt the inquiry pending the outcome of the disciplinary process to “expunge” all the evidence heard by the commission during its first sitting; to provide an undertaking that the commission would not hear evidence related to his disciplinary process; and for Sars to provide legal assistance to him when he appeared before the commission.

Moyane is expected to appear before the inquiry into his fitness to hold office later this week.

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