16/03/2018 06:59 SAST | Updated 16/03/2018 06:59 SAST

Tom Moyane Allegedly 'Unlawfully' Helped The Guptas Get Tax Refunds

It has been alleged that the Sars commissioner sped up the payment of tax refunds owed to the Guptas into a third-party bank account.

SARS commissioner Tom Moyane.
Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander
SARS commissioner Tom Moyane.

SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane allegedly came to the aid of the Guptas, pushing through three requests for VAT payments totalling R70-million, Daily Maverick reported on Thursday. This reportedly caused friction between Moyane and Sars' lawyers, who believe the payments were unlawful.

Oakbay Investments director Ronica Ragavan reportedly wrote to Sars in May 2017 making an "urgent" request for the first VAT payout. It came two weeks later, while two smaller payments reportedly arrived in July and August.

Moyane allegedly pressurised junior officials to make the payments against their will. Further questions about the legality of the payments reportedly arise from the fact that they were made into the account of a third party, not to Oakbay, raising concerns about money laundering.

Sars told Daily Maverick that Moyane was not responsible for the decision, but that it was chief officer Reflioe Mokoena's decision. Correspondence obtained by Daily Maverick, however, shows that Mokoena warned against the transactions.

The Guptas were reportedly owed some VAT refunds, but they struggled to access these because all four major banks had closed their accounts. Ragavan then approached Moyane directly with a request to assist the family.

While Daily Maverick reported that Sars staff "almost immediately" shot down the request for the refunds to be paid into a separate account, a Sars spokesman said this was not the case, and it did not amount to a deviation from Sars policy.

This week, Business Day reported that Moyane could be on his way out, following the resignation of Sars chief executive Jonas Makwakwa, who was fingered by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for receiving strange amounts of money. Moyane has been strongly criticised for his handling of the matter.

Moyane's removal could be put before Cabinet soon, Business Day reported.

Corruption Watch has called for Makwakwa and Moyane to be prosecuted, Eyewitness News reported. The watchdog's David Lewis reportedly said that even if Moyane resigns, this will absolve him of the allegations against him.

"We will definitely pursue this. These two have done more harm to the country than any other two individuals," he reportedly said.