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MPs may summon Hogan Lovells to answer questions over Makwakwa

Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane is due to appear before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance again next Tuesday and there’s a possibility that the committee will decide that Hogan Lovells should also come.

Sars' Jonas Makwakwa. Picture: YouTube screengrab

CAPE TOWN - International law firm Hogan Lovells may find itself in Parliament answering questions about its role in the investigation into senior South African Revenue Services (Sars) official Jonas Makwakwa.

Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane is due to appear before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance again next Tuesday and there’s a possibility that the committee will decide that Hogan Lovells should also come.

Moyane and Sars officials were on Tuesday pressed by MPs to explain why Makwakwa got his job back this month while a criminal investigation into unusual payments linked to him and his partner and fellow Sars employee, Kelly Ann-Elskie, is still ongoing.

Moyane’s told the committee that the Hawks’ probe is not his responsibility, which MPs have disputed.

MPs are not impressed that Moyane isn’t spurring on the Hawks investigation, while committee chair, Yunus Carrim, has gone so far as to say that senior members of the African National Congress's national executive committee believe that Makwakwa is being protected because of what he knows.

Hogan Lovells’ investigation into Makwakwa was limited and did not cover possible criminal acts, Sars official Luther Lebelo told the committee:

“So we receive the FIC (Financial Intelligence Centre report on) suspicious transactions. We appoint Hogan Lovells to do precisely one thing - to investigate whether there is misconduct, as per the labour laws, between Mr Makwakwa as an employee and Sars as an employer and that is all that Sars can do.

“We approach the police. The police say the FIC has already opened a case, don’t worry, we’re already looking into the matter.”

The committee now wants copies of all correspondence between Moyane and the Hawks.

Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees read from a letter from the law firm dated 29 September 2016 and signed by Moyane.

It says the Hawks only contacted Sars after The Sunday Times reported earlier that month that Moyane had been sitting on the Financial Intelligence Centre’s report since May 2016, with Makwakwa still at his desk.