'Sars threatening legal action against office of AG over audit finding'

Kimi Makwetu says his office this week received a letter from lawyers acting for Sars.

FILE: Auditor General Kimi Makwetu. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu has told parliament that South African Revenue Service (Sars) is threatening to take his office to court over a disputed audit finding.

Makwetu revealed the threatened legal action during a meeting of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Auditor General on Friday.

The committee’s working on a draft bill that will give Makwetu’s office more teeth.

Makwetu says his office this week received a letter from lawyers acting for Sars.

“We have not signed off on the accounts of Sars because we have a dispute on a particular matter and they have chosen that they will take it to court.”

Makwetu told Eyewitness News he was not prepared to comment further on the matter.

“Because the report, as I said, is not signed so I’m not going to say more about this.”

But in briefings in Parliament this week, he has highlighted a growing trend of state entities and departments contesting audit outcomes they do not like.

Makwetu says this takes the form of threats of legal action, lack of co-operation in producing documents, and even personal threats, including accusations that his office is guilty of “ulterior motives”.

In response to questions from EWN, Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela said the revenue service "did not want to engage the Office of the Auditor-General through the media."

"Apart from emphasising that this is a matter between Sars and the AG, Sars is not in a position to comment on the matter at this stage."

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)