Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane, former deputy finance minister Sifiso Buthelezi, former president Jacob Zuma, former finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, SA Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago and former Treasury director-general Fuzile Lungisa. Picture: ELMOND JIYANE/GCIS
Former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane, former deputy finance minister Sifiso Buthelezi, former president Jacob Zuma, former finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, SA Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago and former Treasury director-general Fuzile Lungisa. Picture: ELMOND JIYANE/GCIS

Evidence linking former president Jacob Zuma to the destruction of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) has been revealed in retired judge Robert Nugent's final report on the tax agency submitted to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday. 

Bain & Company former partner Vittorio Massone lied under oath when he said he had never discussed Sars with Zuma, evidence placed before the commission of inquiry into Sars has shown.

In fact, the evidence shows that it was Zuma who informed Massone that Moyane would be appointed Sars commissioner, at least five months before it was publicly announced.

Bain was responsible, along with Moyane, for the far-reaching review of Sars's operating model which neutralised the capacity of the tax agency and severely hampered its functioning, culminating in a R100bn hole in revenue collection. 

While it was revealed during public hearings that Massone had met Zuma on numerous occasions, Massone has maintained that he did not discuss Sars or Moyane with the former president. 

This has now been shown to be a lie. 

The commission found that Massone submitted in an affidavit that a meeting he had scheduled with Zuma on April 3 2014 was postponed.

But separate evidence submitted to the commission by Bain showed that the meeting did in fact take place — and the evidence suggests that in that meeting Zuma told Massone that Moyane would be  appointed Sars commissioner. 

An email exchange with another Bain partner, Fabrice Franzen, who asks how Massone's "big meeting" went on April 4, is described in the report. Massone admitted that he was meant to meet Zuma on April 3 but said it was postponed in the affidavit to the commission. However, in an email in reply to Franzen, Massone says that the meeting "went very well".

He says that "Sars is aa (sic) go, right after elections!". 

Franzen then congratulates Massone, to which he replies: "be ready for Sars". 

"It can be inferred from the (e-mail) exchange that Mr Massone was assured at the meeting with Mr Zuma that Mr Moyane would be appointed commissioner of Sars, and that Bain was assured it would be awarded a contract to ‘transform’ Sars, after the general election, which was to take place on May 7 2014. It is probable that Mr Moyane would also have been at the meeting," the Nugent report says. 

Bain had also been working with Moyane for a year before he took up the Sars post, providing "executive coaching". Bain has since paid back the R164m it earned from the Sars contract with interest, amounting to R217m. But it may yet face fraud charges due to evidence that it had won the contract with Sars illegally. 

The final Nugent report shows how Bain helped Moyane to "seize" Sars for his own purposes, while the aim of the consultancy was simply to make money. 

marriann@businesslive.co.za