26/06/2018 07:24 SAST | Updated 26/06/2018 07:24 SAST

Corruption-Busting Continues As Sars Inquiry Gets Underway

As the Sars inquiry kicks off, it is expected to start with a probe into the exodus of senior staffers at the revenue service.

The Cape Town headquarters of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is seen in this picture taken March 1, 2016.
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
The Cape Town headquarters of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is seen in this picture taken March 1, 2016.

As the hearings into the administration of Sars kicks off on Tuesday, the exodus of senior staff at the revenue service is likely to come under the spotlight, Business Day reported. The inquiry, headed by Judge Robert Nugent, will reportedly focus on the restructuring of Sars since suspended commissioner Tom Moyane took over the running of the agency in 2014.

The inquiry is also reportedly expected to investigate the R70-million tax refund which was allegedly paid to the Gupta family unlawfully.

Former finance minister, now public enterprises minister, Pravin Gordhan is expected to make an early submission to the inquiry.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Nugent would head the inquiry on May 23. According to eNCA, Ramaphosa announced that the inquiry would investigate tax administration and governance issues. Ramaphosa reportedly announced that steps would be taken to stabilise the revenue service during his State of the Nation Address in February.

The other members of the commission are Professor Michael Katz, Advocate Mabongi Masilo and Vuyo Kahla.

The inquiry will also reportedly investigate allegations of unauthorised bonuses to executives and the alleged withholding of refunds owed to taxpayers, as well as supply-chain management and tender processes. The inquiry must file its preliminary report at the end of September.

The commission had a broad mandate, and it also instructed to look specifically at whether holders of public office of people connected to them were threatened in a "non-standard" way, according to the Daily Maverick.

Nugent is reportedly a widely respected retired judge with a reputation for not allowing obstructionist tactics to take place.