EXTRACT

Advocate Dali Mpofu SC appeared before the inquiry on Friday, calling it an "unmitigated sham and a farce". He made a spirited argument on behalf of suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane that the commission be halted and all evidence presented expunged.

"This is one of the grossest and most unfair processes I've ever witnessed under this democracy," Mpofu said.

He objected to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was previously SARS commissioner and finance minister, having been the first witness, and said that other former SARS officials who gave evidence had "a huge axe to grind".

It is no surprise that Moyane is incensed by the evidence presented. Former chief operations officer Barry Hore told the inquiry that the country lost at least R142-billion in uncollected tax during the time Moyane was in charge of the tax authority.

"Some call it bootlegging. Some call it racketeering. I call it a business." Mafia boss Al Capone, who ran the most profitable crime syndicate of the Prohibition era, said this because he was aggrieved that his criminal enterprise had earned a bad reputation. It is not unusual for super-villains to complain of unfair treatment. It is also common for crooks to find innovative ways to justify their deeds and convince people that others are perpetrating worse evils.We are living through an incredible period as epic power battles play out and massive corruption in the state is progressively exposed. The latest episode is the commission of inquiry into administration and governance at SARS, headed by Judge Robert Nugent. On the face of it, this might look like a shoot-out between two camps trying to control the tax agency. It is not. This is about the credibility of a critical institution, its capture by criminal enterprises and the link to senior political figures. Advocate Dali Mpofu S...

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