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Bain staff celebrated resignation of top Sars official, Nugent inquiry hears

Tom Moyane appointed Bain to restructure Sars, and it’s been credited with introducing numerous inefficiencies and leading to a tax under-collection.

FILE: A screengrab of retired Judge Robert Nugent. Picture: YouTube.

JOHANNESBURG - The Nugent Commission of Inquiry has seen correspondence which reveals how officials at consultancy firm Bain seemingly celebrated the resignation of senior South African Revenue Service (Sars) officials in the months after Tom Moyane was appointed.

Retired Judge Robert Nugent has been appointed to investigate tax administration and governance during Moyane’s tenure.

Moyane appointed Bain to restructure Sars, and it’s been credited with introducing numerous inefficiencies and leading to a tax under-collection.

Evidence leader, Advocate Carol Steinberg, showed the commission a presentation Bain gave to Moyane prior to his appointment, which referred to neutralising people who would hamper change in an organisation.

She then referred to an email between Bain staff, after former Sars chief operating officer Barry Hore resigned three months after Moyane’s appointment.

“[And] he writes: ‘Goodbye Barry Hore...,” Steinberg said.

“Bain’s managing partner Vittorio Massone responds by saying: 'Now I’m scared by Tom [Moyane]. This guy was supposed to be untouchable, and it took Moyane two weeks to make him resign.'"

“This email suggests that the more innocuous reading of neutralising is not, in fact, the correct one.”

The commission heard that Massone is ill and cannot testify at this stage.

WATCH: Nugent inquiry into Sars resumes

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)