The South African Revenue Service (Sars) received a dressing down from MPs on Tuesday, with accusations from ANC and opposition MPs alike that its commissioner Tom Moyane was protecting his second in command, Jonas Makwakwa, "because of what he knows", according to TimesLive.
Makwakwa was cleared of misconduct charges by an internal committee after the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) alerted Sars to R1.3 million's worth of suspicious cash payments paid into the bank accounts of Makwakwa and his girlfriend.
Moyane reportedly said he had met the Hawks to discuss the allegations and that they were investigated. While Makwakwa was cleared of the misconduct charges, the criminal issues were referred to the Hawks, he said.
But chairperson of the portfolio committee on finance, and ANC MP Yunus Carrim reportedly was not satisfied.
There is a strong perception that he is being protected because of what he knows.
DA MP Alf Lees said there was a "moral duty" on Moyane to look at the criminal charges.
According to Business Day, Carrim went on to say that even if Makwakwa was innocent, "a person in your role should not be behaving like this."
He suggested that Moyane consider suspending Makwakwa until the Hawks' investigation was complete. He said the impression that Makwakwa was being protected.
Lees reportedly said it was not okay for Makwakwa to be handling tax matters while a criminal matter was hanging over him.
Sars was also grilled on whether it was withholding tax refunds to boost its revenue to meet its targets. SARS group executive for tax and customs Randall Carolissen said it would be "extremely difficult" to do this.
Meanwhile, Sars will seek a declaratory order from the North Gauteng High Court on whether R3 million's worth of bonuses awarded to its executive committee should are irregular expenditure, Fin24 reported.
This is after the bonuses were reportedly queried by the auditor-general, and they were reported as irregular expenditure on an interim basis.
This was contained a report presented to Parliament on Tuesday. The report stated that Sars received a legal opinion which confirmed that the bonuses could be paid by Moyane.
Carrim reportedly raised concerns that Sars has not submitted its annual report on time. He warned that Sars was not "just another entity".
Moyane reportedly said that the report was ready, except for the dispute with the auditor-general over the issue of bonuses.
"When we are challenged on issues we think we are right on, it is our duty and responsibility to take it further. When the issue of [the payment] of bonuses were raised, we stood firm to say we were right [to pay them]. We had an amicable agreement with the Auditor General to put the matter to bed once and for all by obtaining a declaratory [court] order," Moyane told the committee.
With respect to bonuses: During Mr Nene's tenure of office there was an agreement with on paid bonuses. When we paid the bonuses in the subsequent year [then] finance minister Gordhan was revoking that decision. That revoking must be decided by the court. We paid the bonuses per agreement," Moyane reportedly said.