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Judge Nugent warns attorney to testify or face criminal prosecution

Attorney David Maphakela was summonsed to give evidence on Monday but refused, saying the affidavits he submitted to the commission should suffice.

A YouTube screengrab of retired Judge Robert Nugent.

PRETORIA - Judge Robert Nugent has warned an attorney who has refused to testify at the South African Revenue Service (Sars) commission of inquiry that he faces criminal prosecution for failing to co-operate.

Attorney David Maphakela was summonsed to give evidence on Monday but refused, saying the affidavits he submitted to the commission should suffice.

It emerged last week that Maphakela's firm invoiced Sars for R759,000 to compile documents related to the so-called rogue unit. The invoice was for putting together about five files of documents.

Sars executive Luther Lebelo says he is challenging the invoice because the firm exceeded its mandate.

Through his advocate William Mokhari, Maphakela told the commission he felt it unnecessary to be subjected to oral evidence and that he would challenge the commission’s finding that he is not excused from doing so.

Nugent warned Mokhari of the risks.

“Let me make it clear that your client is not excused from their evidence and if he chooses not to do so, then he must do so at the risk of facing prosecution.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)