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Our work hasn’t added any value to Sars, Gartner admits

Consultancy firm Gartner’s managing vice president Michael Lithgow explored the question of whether the R200 million spent by Sars brought value for money.

A screengrab of consultancy firm Gartner’s managing vice president, Michael Lithgow, testifying at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria on 23 October. Picture: YouTube.

PRETORIA - Consultancy firm Gartner’s managing vice president has conceded that their work done at South African Revenue Service (Sars) has not added any value, but he blames the revenue service, saying their proposed plan wasn’t implemented.

Michael Lithgow has testified at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The commission earlier heard how a deviation procedure was improperly used to award a R200 million contract to the international firm.

Lithgow explored the question of whether the R200 million spent by Sars brought value for money.

“Can I justify the money that was spent? Yes, I can justify that. Has it delivered value for money to Sars? No, because we’ve not seen any evidence or significant evidence of the work that we’ve done has now occurred.”

He says the reasons for this include turbulence within the organisation and leadership being committed to different outcomes.

He says as a professional, he found it distressing that their work was not implemented.

MIDDLEMAN AND SARS

Lithgow says it is unusual that the company did not establish the nature of the relationship between a middleman and Sars before entering into a R200 million contract with the revenue service.

The Nugent Commission of Inquiry heard evidence on Tuesday that businessman Patrick Monyeki, a known friend of commissioner Tom Moyane, approached Gartner’s local representative to propose doing business with Sars.

The local consultant claimed he never interrogated Monyeki about his links to the revenue service or whether he had been officially mandated to approach Gartner.

Judge Robert Nugent pressed Gartner’s Lithgow to explain why the international company failed to investigate Monyeki’s relationship with the revenue service.

“No one asked what the relations was, if any, between Monyeki and Sars... those were the facts. I would find that unusual. Has it happened before?”

“It hasn’t happened to me, personally. I cannot confirm that it hasn’t happened at all,” Lithgow responded.

“Gartner would not normally do business in that way; would that be right?” asked Judge Nugent.

“Yes,” Lithgow responded.

After receiving the contract, Gartner then subcontracted about 40% of the work to Monyeki’s company Rangewave Consulting.

Moyane has conceded in Parliament that Monyeki is his friend but denied any wrongdoing.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)