The SA Revenue Service (Sars) commission of inquiry into governance and administration at the tax agency took an ominous twist this week, as testimony revealed that Sars staff were too petrified to come forward and give evidence. The commission, chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Robert Nugent, began its second round of public hearings as suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane continued in his bid to stonewall the separate disciplinary process against him. Nugent kicked off proceedings with evidence from Sars group executive Randall Carolissen, who sits on the agency’s top leadership structure, its executive committee. It emerged during his submission that Sars "reeked with fear": a candid admission, said Nugent, who has been at the agency’s Pretoria headquarters continuing the inquiry since it started earlier this year. Nugent told Carolissen that people had refused outright to give evidence to the inquiry out of fear of reprisals. Carolissen acknowledged that the Sars executiv...

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