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Sars to audit all disciplinary cases to rule out possibility of malicious intent

This was one of the measures acting Commissioner Mark Kingon announced on Friday as part of an effort to turn the organisation around.

A screengrab of acting Sars Commissioner Mark Kingon appearing at the Nugent commission of inquiry on 19 October 2018.

PRETORIA - The Nugent commission of inquiry has heard that the South African Revenue Service (Sars) will conduct an audit of all recent and pending disciplinary cases to rule out the possibility that they could be based on malicious intent.

This was one of the measures acting Commissioner Mark Kingon announced on Friday as part of an effort to turn the organisation around.

Witnesses have told the commission about a culture of fear at Sars under the leadership of suspended Commissioner Tom Moyane.

Kingon says he will soon entrust the human resources department with conducting an audit of previous and ongoing disciplinary processes.

“This is to ensure that there are no spurious or malicious reasons for the processes that have been followed. We can’t allow our internal investigative space and the disciplinary processes to be utilised for anything but pure purposes of preventing fraud or corruption.”

Kingon says he wants to set up a process to ensure the disciplinary oversight committee is independent.

“…Of people who will basically advise before a case is started and before a case is prosecuted or not prosecuted. I want an oversight governance committee that will decide this, not individuals.”

PLANS TO INVIGORATE SARS

With just 60 days left of his term at the helm of Sars, Kingon has announced ambitious plans to resurrect the organisation and boost staff morale.

Kingon made his submission at the inquiry, where he announced the re-establishment of the disbanded unit, the redeployment of displaced staff as well as measures to inspire confidence in the organisation’s leadership.

In his interim report to President Cyril Ramaphosa, retired Judge Robert Nugent identified Moyane as the source of the current problems at Sars and recommended he be removed from office.

After Kingon announced his plans to invigorate Sars, Judge Nugent put the brakes on with a reality check: the fact that the matter concerning Moyane has still not been resolved.

“(But) quite seriously, should you be putting these things in place if they’re just going to be dismantled again? You’ve spoken about a great vision, and so forth. Well, you can only have that vision if the person in charge has got that vision, and with respect, you’re not in charge yet.”

Kingon was resolute.

“Yes, I am acting but I do have every authority and I’m going to act, at the moment, in a way that I believe fit for our country’s sake and for our organisation’s sake. The matter of the commissioner needs to be wrapped up extremely urgently. But I have to proceed. I can't sit on my laurels, Judge.

Moyane plans to challenge the lawfulness of the Nugent commission.

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