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Moyane defends decision to reinstate Makwakwa

Moyane revealed at parliament on Tuesday that the investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers has yet to be concluded.

FILE: South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Tom Moyane. Picture Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Tom Moyane has defended the decision to reinstate senior tax official Jonas Makwakwa in spite of an investigation into possible tax avoidance or evasion.

Moyane revealed at Parliament on Tuesday that the investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers has yet to be concluded.

Makwakwa returned to work last month after being suspended for more than a year after the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) reported suspicious payments into his bank account and that of fellow Sars employee Kelly-Ann Elskie.

Makwakwa is also the focus of a Hawks probe after the FIC said an investigation should determine whether the money was the proceeds of crime or whether money laundering was involved.

He was reinstated after being cleared in a disciplinary process of any misconduct as far as the employer-employee relationship was concerned.

But Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance was concerned that he returned to work with a criminal investigation still pending.

Tuesday’s revelation that Sars’s own probe into whether or not Makwakwa committed tax offences is still ongoing stunned MPs.

Moyane was asked about the impact this might have on public confidence in Sars.

“We don’t know whether he has any tax offence that can emanate out of this, we have no clue. Once this is complete, then we can speak about what you are saying. So it’s an inference.”

Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees says he’s written to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba to inform him of the concerns around Makwakwa’s return to work with serious allegations hanging over him.