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Sars: Makwakwa breached terms of his suspension while under probe

Sars says while being investigated, Jonas Makwakwa committed what Sars viewed as a breach of the conditions of his suspension.

FILE: Jonas Makwakwa. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has revealed that top official Jonas Makwakwa allegedly breached the terms of his suspension while under investigation for a number of suspicious transactions flagged by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

In a statement issued on Monday evening, Sars slams media reports for suggesting that Commissioner Tom Moyane acted improperly in regard to Makwakwa’s disciplinary inquiry.

Makwakwa was reinstated this month after being cleared of all charges in his disciplinary hearing.

He was placed on suspension in September 2016, some months after the FIC sent its report to Moyane.

The statement says that while being investigated, Makwakwa committed what Sars viewed as a breach of the conditions of his suspension when he made a phone call in January this year to a Sars employee about a tax matter.

Sars says disciplinary charges regarding this were then served on Makwakwa.

Sars says in the meantime, Hogan Lovells found Makwakwa committed no act of misconduct relating to the suspicious transactions in his and fellow Sars employee Kelly-Ann Elskie’s accounts.

The statement says Hogan Lovells gave Makwakwa an opportunity to respond to the FIC’s report and it was these responses that led to the law firm coming to that conclusion.

But the law firm recommended Makwakwa face disciplinary charges for violating Sars’ conflict of interest disclosure rules and its code of conduct.

Sars says Makwakwa’s disciplinary inquiry chaired by Advocate Terry Motau found him not guilty on all the charges, including the alleged breach of the conditions of his suspension.

Sars goes on to say that Moyane was advised there was no legal basis for not lifting Makwakwa’s suspension because the Hawks had as yet taken no decision to charge him over the payments and the disciplinary inquiry had cleared him.

At the same time, Moyane is expected to face questions from Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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