Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO Lucky Montana. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO Lucky Montana. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana has described the move by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to attach his assets as a witch-hunt aimed at settling scores.

He also said he was pulling out of testifying before the state capture commission, chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, because he had been pressured to "drop some aspects" of his testimony.

He did not name the the aspects he was forced to drop.

"I had refused and withdrew from testifying before the commission," he said.

The Daily Maverick reported on Wednesday that the sheriff of the high court had been instructed to seize two luxury vehicles and other moveable property owned by Montana.

The article said the warrants were granted by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and related to unpaid taxes of about R1.8m that Sars sought to retrieve from Montana.

In an statement on Wednesday, the former Prasa boss said the move by Sars was not unexpected.

He admitted that he owed the taxman about R1.6m from the sale of two properties. "Sars had brought this to my attention through my tax adviser. I agreed to settle the amount as soon as I have disposed of another property, which Sars was informed of," said Montana.

However, he described the move to attach his assets as "clearly vindictive, unethical and smacks of abuse of power by the new clique running Sars".

"I was never served with the summons to defend the matter. The sheriff of the court arrived at my home this [Wednesday] morning with a warrant of execution."

Montana claimed he was being victimised by a senior Sars official whom he claimed to have fired when he was still the CEO of Prasa.

"It is a vindictive action by the Sars executive, Mr Viwe Mlenzana. He was fired as CEO of Shosholoza Meyl for corruption and irregular conduct during my tenure as CEO of Prasa.

"I was made aware last year that he had abused his position and summonsed certain taxpayers and pressured them to 'spill the beans' on Montana," Montana said of the official.

"Sars is corrupt to the core. He [Mlenzana] is bitter and angry, using his position at Sars to settle old scores," he said. 

When contacted for comment by Business Day on Wednesday night, Mlenzana said: "I have nothing to say to those allegations."

Montana said Sars had always addressed his tax matters via his tax adviser. "However, on the day that I decided to write to the Zondo commission, they [Sars] contacted me directly to discuss my tax matters."

Montana said that it was clear that Sars had seen his "detailed submission" to the commission, "which indicates the roles of former Sars executives in unlawful activities". 

Montana said he intended reporting Sars's "unethical conduct and abuse of power" to Tax Ombudsman judge Bernard Ngoepe.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za