Sars' Bain tender may have been irregular, inquiry hears
Bain’s lack of proper Sars investigation called into question at Nugent inquiry.
PRETORIA - The Nugent Commission of Inquiry has heard that the tender for consulting firm Bain to restructure South African Revenue Service (Sars) may have been irregular, and how it increased from R3 million to more than R150 million.
Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane appointed Bain to restructure the organisation shortly after he was appointed in 2014, but the move has been credited with destroying key units in the organisation.
The company’s managing partner is testifying at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry public hearings in Pretoria.
Evidence leader Advocate Carol Steinberg questioned Vittorio Massone: “It’s highly regular to tender for something that costs just over R2 million, and then to end up with a contract of over R164 million. I wonder what Bain’s checks and balances are in making sure from your side you’re respecting the laws of the country."
To which Massone responded: “I want to believe that we were respecting the laws of the country, from our side.”
Retired Judge Robert Nugent questioned the manner in which Bain was awarded the tender.
“You tendered for the diagnostic with a 50% discount, which took you below the next highest tender. But then you’re going to charge full rates for the rest of the project, which means, I would’ve thought, you going to be charging almost double the rates that the other tender has worked out for the rest of the project. Isn’t that rather odd?”
WATCH: Sars Inquiry
Bain says if it had properly investigated all the controversies surrounding South African Revenue Service (Sars) and former commissioner Tom Moyane it probably would not have accepted the brief to design a new operating model.
Moyane hired Bain shortly after he was appointed.
The model has been credited with dismantling key revenue collection units and introducing inefficiencies into the process.
Nugent asked Bain’s Vittorio Massone why they accepted the brief from Moyane without undertaking a proper investigation.
“The exco had been suspended, the commissioner had been put on suspension and the articles in the press; shouldn’t you have investigated that before you rushed into changing the structure?”
Massone responded: “Yes... and knowing what I know now, not only would we’ve investigated, we probably wouldn’t have done the work.”
Massone insists that the operating model is not the problem, but the sudden lack of leadership led to its failure.
He says Bain raised issues of high manager turnover with Sars but did not receive an adequate response.
(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)