Parliament Standing Committee on Finance has requested a copy of disciplinary enquiry report on South African Revenue Services (Sars) employees Jonas Makwakwa and Kelly-Anne Elskie whose suspensions which lasted for a year was recently lifted.
On September 15, 2016 Financial Intelligence Centre had alerted Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane that Makwakwa and his alleged girlfriend, Kelly-Ann Elskie, had made 75 “suspicious” cash deposits worth R1.3-million into their personal bank accounts and flagging alleged fraud, corruption and money laundering.
Makwakwa and Elskie were subsequently suspended.
The law firm, Hogan Lovells appointed a highly esteemed and renowned senior counsel, Advocate Terry Motau, to chair the hearing.
Hogan Lovells submitted an investigation report which recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Makwakwa.
“Sars wishes to confirm that, Advocate Motau, SC has submitted the final report which found that Mr Makwakwa was not guilty of any of the charges levelled against him. This concludes the disciplinary action against Makwakwa,” said Sars.
Makwakwa was reinstated to his position as Chief Officer: Business & Individual Tax with effect from November 1, 2017
“After consulting with Parliament’s Legal Services Unit, the Standing Committee on Finance has written to Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane, as well as Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba to request a copy of the Disciplinary Enquiry Report on Jonas Makwakwa and Ms Kelly-Anne Elskie,” Committee chairperson Yunus Carrim said in a statement on Monday.
“Although we have no evidence that Mr Makwakwa and Ms Elskie are guilty of the allegations against them, we still believe that it is in the public interest that the report be released. Given the role SARS plays, it not only has to be, but be seen to be above reproach, and perceptions of irregularities by its senior officials have to be effectively addressed,” said Yunus Carrim, the Chairperson of the Committee.
Carrim said taking the public into confidence in relation to the alleged irregularities is important in view of the waning public confidence in Sars, decreasing tax compliance amongst tax payers and a decline in tax morality, which SARS has also referred to.
“With the projected shortfall of R50.8 billion in revenue for this financial year, we need to bolster public confidence in SARS more than ever before. The statement issued by SARS that Mr Makwakwa is not guilty of the charges levelled against him is terse and offers no justification for this decision,” said Carrim.
Carrim said the Committee believed that If there were aspects of the report that cannot be released for legal reasons, this can be negotiated between Sars lawyers and Parliament, saying if there was an agreement on this, those aspects can be considered in a closed meeting or deleted from the report to be considered.
Carrim reiterated that should Sars decide not to make the report available to the Committee, it would have to provide a legal justification, which would be referred to Parliament’s Legal Advisors.
Carrim added that Committee had also requested the Hogan Lovells report on this matter, on the same basis as the request for the Disciplinary Inquiry Report.