Reports: Sars suspends top official Jonas Makwakwa

Sars won't confirm or deny reports that it’s second-in-command Jonas Makwakwa has been suspended.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Service (Sars)'s second-in-charge, Jonas Makwakwa, has reportedly been suspended pending an investigation into deposits made into his personal bank account.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend on a number of unusual payments of R1,2 million over the past six years.

It's being reported that Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane informed staff in a memorandum issued today that Makwakwa has been suspended ahead of a full investigation.

The Mail & Guardian newspaper has a copy of an internal memo circulated by Commissioner saying he issued Makwakwa with a suspension letter pending a full investigation.

This is after a banking regulator found around R1.2 million in mystery payments into Makwakwa's bank account.

Moyane's note also includes an apparent explanation for his failure to act sooner saying that he believes the organisation followed the correct procedures.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe was asked about the allegations levelled against Makwakwa during a post-Cabinet briefing earlier today.

He told journalists the matter was not discussed by Cabinet.

"On the issue of Sars, the reports over the weekend were not pleasing at all - so I do hope that the Minister of Finance [Pravin Gordhan] and the Commissioner of Sars [Tom Moyane] are going to be dealing with this issue of Makwakwa so we can know precisely what exactly has happened."

Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela says he does not yet have authorisation to confirm or deny the reports.

At the same time, the Ministry of Finance in a statement says it's noted reports of Makwakwa's suspension, but says that as at 13h25 National Treasury had yet to be formally notified.

The statement says Treasury met with Moyane and another senior official this week to discuss the matter, and that it's awaiting further information on the action that is to be taken by senior management of Sars.

The statement goes on to say, "Treasury believes public confidence and transparency are critical in order to be seen to be doing the right thing in this matter."