NEWS

SARS Second-In-Command To Report To Work After One-Year Suspension

Jonas Makwakwa tipped to return despite an official report alleging suspicious payments being made into his personal bank account.

30/10/2017 16:35 SAST | Updated 30/10/2017 16:35 SAST
Mike Hutchings / Reuters

Senior South African Revenue Service official Jonas Makwakwa, who was suspended for more than a year in September last year, was expected to return to work this week, SARS insiders have revealed.

The insiders told News24 that Makwakwa was set to return on Monday after his girlfriend, Kelly-Ann Elskie, returned to SARS for duty last week.

Makwakwa and Elskie were suspended after it was revealed that the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) had flagged the pair for several suspicious payments made into their personal bank accounts.

At the time of his suspension, Makwakwa, a chartered accountant, was the chief officer for business and individual tax and SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane's second in command.

He was caught on camera allegedly making cash deposits into his and Elskie's private bank accounts.

According to an FIC report, he made unusual and suspicious deposits totalling R1.2-million into a number of bank accounts between 2010 and 2016. The payments and deposits were of concern as they had originated from unknown sources.

Moyane received the report and, instead of handing it to police to investigate, allegedly showed it to Makwakwa and Elskie.

Corruption Watch subsequently laid charges against Moyane, Makwakwa and Elskie for breaching the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

After months went by with no response, Corruption Watch wrote to the Hawks to ask about the progress of the case. No response was received.

They took the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) in March, noting that the Hawks had told it that they were handling an "inquiry" into the FIC report against Makwakwa and Elskie.

"We understand that an 'inquiry' is being made into allegations of corruption against Makwakwa and Elskie, despite the FIC having compiled all the evidence relating to the corrupt activities in its May 2016 report.

"In regard to our criminal complaint against Moyane, we are uncertain about what steps are being taken, if any, to investigate our complaint," Corruption Watch wrote in the complaint to the IPID.

They had also received reports from a variety of whistle-blowers that Makwakwa and Elskie were returning to SARS, Corruption Watch spokesperson Patience Mkosana told News24.

"We are currently looking into the matter," Mkosana said.

In parliament earlier this year, SARS said it was waiting for the finalisation of an investigation into the matter and was unable to report anything further.

In the interim, Makwakwa was suspended on full pay with benefits. In June this year, a bodyguard accompanied him to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, where he testified at former SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay's constructive dismissal hearing.

SARS told the Daily Maverick last month that Makwakwa was still suspended, that there was a hearing under way and that an outcome was expected in early October.

But since then, there has been no update.

Insiders said Elskie was at work on Friday and that they had heard that Makwakwa was expected back on Monday.

News24