PARLIAMENT, March 13 – MPs are set to finally lay eyes on two reports related to the return to work of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) chief officer for business and individual tax, Jonas Makwakwa, after a tense meeting on Tuesday.
Sars commissioner Tom Moyane and his team were briefing Parliament’s standing committee on finance which has for months been asking for a report by an international law firm, contracted by the revenue service, to investigate Makwakwa who was flagged, along with his girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elskie, by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) as having made several suspicious deposits into their personal bank accounts, as well as the report of a disciplinary committee that cleared the two.
“Sars is willing to bare its soul…,” Moyane said while he tried to sketch out a pretext to the Makwakwa matter. MPs were too impatient to listen insisting they had been going around in circles for months. What they wanted was clear concise answers to their questions.
Moyane handed over to a group executive Luther Lebelo, who started off by explaining that the report by law firm Hogan Lovells contained information from a report by the FIC, which despite being in the public domain was deemed confidential and could not be released publicly.
MPs stopped Lebelo, demanding an answer to when the Hogan Lovells report and the Motau report, which deals with the disciplinary process against Makwakwa, will be given to MPs.
Lebelo dared utter the words “let me finish”, which drew an angry response from committee chairman Yunus Carrim.
“I am the chair of the committee, you are going to stop messing us around…answer the question clearly…you brought this upon yourselves,” said Carrim.
Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier suggested Moyane be summonsed to appear before Parliament and made to submit the two reports.
“Sars response is bizarre because this committee is being denied access to reports…on the basis that they contain information relating to an FIC report which is in the public domain…its frankly absurd. It’s mad. Give us the report commisisoner. Stop messing us around,” said Maynier.
Eventually, Moyane told the committee his pretext earlier in the meeting, which caused frustration among MPs in the first place, was always meant to conclude with the words: “In so far as the submission of the reports are concerned, we are in agreement that these reports will be released to yourselves.”
Both the Motau and Hogan Lovells reports would be provided to MPs by 10am on Friday morning. Information relating to what is contained in the FIC report would be redacted.
Moyane and team will either face the committee via video conference or in person next Tuesday to answer questions on the reports.