On 25 October Corruption Watch wrote to the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane, informing him that we intended to lay criminal charges against him for not reporting corrupt activities – detailed in a Financial Intelligence Centre report and involving two senior SARS employees – to the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, or the Hawks. This is an obligation under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities (Precca) Act.
We also planned to lay charges against Moyane for a contravention of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Act which involved the disclosure of the FIC report to the implicated employees. The act prohibits the disclosure of suspicious and unusual transactions to certain persons, particularly those implicated in the report.
Moyane responded to our letter three days later, explaining that at the time, he was advised by the Hawks in writing that a criminal case was unnecessary. Moyane accepted the advice and co-operated fully with the Hawks’ investigation.
He denied any contravention of Precca, saying the Hawks had advised him “through written correspondence that there is no need to open a criminal case on a matter that is already under investigation by the Hawks.”
However, we are concerned by some of the statements he made, and have written to the FIC and the Hawks, asking for clarity. We have asked the Hawks to explain the contradiction to what was reported by Marianne Thamm in the Daily Maverick.
Thamm’s article revealed that “…while both Commissioner Moyane as well as the Hawks, through its spokesperson have denied that the matter had been reported to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Daily Maverick has twice asked the Hawks), the SARS reply seems to indicate otherwise.”
Daily Maverick was in possession of a docket number apparently relating to the investigation of Jonas Makwakwa, one of the two SARS employees. The case was said to be in the hands of one Colonel Herbert Heap. But the Hawks, in response to this, told Thamm that “There is no case and Colonel Herbert Heap is not the Investigative Officer. We still maintain our previous stance [that it is a SARS internal matter].”
Corruption Watch is perplexed by the contradictory statements being made by SARS and the Hawks respectively. We have also asked the Hawks for the written correspondence and confirmation of Moyane’s claim that he was advised not to pursue a case as an investigation was already in progress, and indication of the section (if any) in Precca which exempts a person from reporting suspicious activities – among several other questions.
We have also written to the FIC asking whether it views Moyane’s disclosure of the report as a breach, as he claims it is not, and for a response to Moyane’s claims that the FIC failed to guide and advise him on the matter.
In both cases we have asked for a response by the close of business on Wednesday, 2 November 2016.