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Sars unit sought to target employees, drive them out, Nugent inquiry told

Sars fraud investigator Yousaf Denath says a senior official, believed to be an ally of Tom Moyane, was irregularly granted access to the Sars email server.

A screengrab of Sars fraud investigator Yousaf Denath giving evidence at the Nugent inquiry on 26 September 2018.

JOHANNESBURG - The Nugent Commission of Inquiry has heard how a unit was established within the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and acted on suspended Commissioner Tom Moyane’s instruction, which targeted employees in an effort to drive them out of the organisation.

Two officials testified on Wednesday at the public hearings of how access was gained to an email server in order to obtain the details about internal corruption whistleblowers.

Retired Judge Robert Nugent is investigating tax administration and governance during Moyane’s tenure, which started in September 2014.

Sars fraud investigator Yousaf Denath says a senior official, believed to be an ally of Moyane, was irregularly granted access to the Sars email server.

“Where are these emails, how many copies were produced and who has them? If there’s a bias or collusion then we need to investigate,” Denath said.

Denath says that he was suspended for 15 months and replaced by the person who had gained access to the emails, who then ran his own investigation unit.

“As soon I returned, I received calls from people saying they were targeted by this unit.”

The hearings continue on Thursday.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)