POLITICS

Hawks Investigating Money-Laundering By Top SARS Man

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba wants a copy of the Makwakwa report.

04/11/2017 07:00 SAST | Updated 04/11/2017 07:00 SAST
Gallo Images
Tom Moyane, SARS commissioner . . . he has kept the report on the investigation into his deputy Jonas Makwakwa's alleged misconduct under lock and key.

The Hawks have confirmed that an investigation into the second-in-command SARS executive and alleged money-launderer Jonas Makwakwa is ongoing. He was this week returned to a crucial job at the under-performing revenue authority after a year's suspension.

SARS spokesman Sandile Memela said the executive would not be suspended again following the Hawks confirmation that an investigation is still in progress.

SARS will not suspend Jonas Makwakwa pending this investigation. SARS is not aware of any misconduct pertaining to his job at SARS he may have committedSandile Memela, SARS spokesperson.

Makwakwa was red-flagged by the money-laundering authorities for suspicious deposits worth millions of rands into his personal accounts made over six years.

Between him and his wife, Kelly-Ann Elskie, who also works at SARS, the two made deposits worth about R1.6-million into their accounts.

Both are on fixed salaries and SARS various integrity and ethical codes of conduct do not allow staff to undertake other work.

"SARS will not suspend Jonas Makwakwa pending this investigation. SARS is not aware of any misconduct pertaining to his job at SARS he may have committed," Memela says.

One of those recommendations was that disciplinary action should be taken against Makwakwa for non-disclosure of external interests.Law firm Hogan Lovells chairperson, Lavery Modise.

But Hogan Lovells, the law firm which carried out an independent investigation into the allegations against Makwakwa, said it had recommended that disciplinary action is taken against him.

"One of those recommendations was that disciplinary action should be taken against Makwakwa for non-disclosure of external interests. SARS subsequently followed its own internal disciplinary procedures which included charges relating to Makwakwa's breach of his suspension conditions and the failure to disclose. A hearing was convened and chaired by an independent senior counsel, Advocate Terry Motau SC. The findings of that internal enquiry acquitted Makwakwa of all charges," Hogan Lovell's chairperson Lavery Modise said in a statement on Friday.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Friday wrote to SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane asking for a copy of the Hogan Lovells report.

Citing confidentiality provisions in the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, SARS will not release the full Hogan Lovells report nor the findings of the internal inquiry by Motau. "Let us allow other processes, if any, which are underway from other law enforcement authorities to proceed," said Memela.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Friday wrote to SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane asking for a copy of the Hogan Lovells report. Moyane has kept the report under lock and key and refused to give a copy to the former finance minister Pravin Gordhan or to National Treasury.

Gallo Images
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba is flanked on his right by treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane and on his left by his deputy Sfiso Buthelezi and SARS commissioner Tom Moyane during Gigaba's Medium-term budget speech in Parliament.

Makwakwa is a key character in Jacques Pauw's book "The President's Keepers". On Friday, SARS announced that it was considering suing Pauw and the publisher's for contravening secretive tax laws which prohibit revealing information even in the public interest. Pauw traces Makwakwa's alleged money-laundering in detail and he also reveals that the executive may have played a role in making the estimated tax liability of R1-billion of Jen-Chih "Robert" Huang, a well-known Taiwanese crony of President Jacob Zuma and his nephew Khulubuse, go away.