Gordhan vs Moyane - and it’s going to be brutal
Pravin Gordhan outlines a litany of allegations against ex-SARS chief Tom Moyane in 69-page affidavit
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has emerged as the Presidency’s most pivotal witness against suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane – and Moyane’s lawyers aren’t happy about it.
After a series of missed deadlines, the Presidency yesterday filed a 69-page affidavit by Gordhan, in which he sought to outline the four misconduct charges against Moyane.
He stressed that – as the former Finance minister – he had “personal knowledge of the facts relevant to this matter up until March 30 2017”.
“Furthermore, the documents and correspondence relevant to this matter were within my custody and control during that time,” he says in the affidavit.But Moyane’s lawyers aren’t convinced, and have questioned why Gordhan, who they say has had “a well-documented history of conflict” with the former tax boss, is now making the Presidency’s case for his removal.
“The crisp issue that needs to be determined by this misconduct inquiry is whether President [Cyril] Ramaphosa had a basis to lose confidence in Mr Moyane. So it’s inexplicable to us that Minister Gordhan is the person who deposed to an affidavit on behalf of the Presidency,” Moyane’s attorney Eric Mabuza said.
Gordhan and Moyane had a difficult relationship while Gordhan was serving as Finance minister. This fractured relationship saw an emotional Moyane telling a SARS press conference that Gordhan “refused to shake my hand”.Gordhan, in turn, had reportedly warned Moyane that approving his own performance bonus was “unethical, immoral and illegal”.
Moyane has made it clear that he wants Ramaphosa to testify against him, and has rejected any suggestion that this inquiry can be determined solely on documentary evidence. He’s also strongly suggested that he will go to court if the inquiry is not referred to oral evidence by its chair, Advocate Azar Bham.
In the affidavit he filed on Thursday, Gordhan details the four misconduct charges against Moyane:
“gross mishandling” of the corruption allegations against his former second-in-command Jonas Makwakwa, which included conducting a “sham investigation” into those allegations;
his alleged dishonesty to parliament;
“unauthorised bonus payments”; and
interference in the SARS Rogue Unit investigation.
This investigation into the so-called Rogue Unit saw Gordhan himself briefly charged by the National Prosecuting Authority over the granting of early retirement to former SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay. That case was withdrawn after the state conceded that it had been unaware of crucial evidence that exonerated Gordhan. But the docket that led to those charges being instituted was opened by Moyane.
The allegations against Moyane, detailed by Gordhan, include that he “grossly mishandled” the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report, given to him in May 2016, about “suspicious transactions” involving SARS chief officer for business and individual tax, Jonas Makwakwa, and his girlfriend, Kelly Ann Elskie.
The FIC referred the report to SARS to determine whether there was evidence that the pair were involved in tax evasion, money-laundering, corruption and/or violations of the Public Finance Management Act.
Gordhan also says that this alleged gross mishandling involved Moyane failing to take “any rational or effective action” in response to the report and failing to report “promptly or at all” the report’s “serious” allegations to Gordhan, who was Finance minister at the time, nor to the Hawks.The affidavit also claims that Moyane disclosed the contents of the FIC report to both Makwakwa and Elskie, and then allowed them to keep rendering services to SARS. Moyane also stands accused of repeatedly asking the FIC to provide information to the pair’s lawyers about the allegations against them when he “ought to have known” they were not entitled to that information.
Gordhan continues that it was only after the FIC report was published by the Sunday Times in September 2016 that Moyane approved and signed off terms of reference for an investigation that were “wholly inadequate to ensure an effective investigation into the report”.
He adds that Moyane failed to ensure that SARS conducted a tax evasion investigation into Makwakwa and Elskie, and failed to ensure that investigators PricewaterhouseCoopers were given access to the pair’s issued cellphones and computers, as well as accounting records and bank accounts crucial to their investigation.
Gordhan continues to outline the allegations, saying that, in November 2017, Moyane lifted Makwakwa’s suspension and allowed him to return to work – “notwithstanding the pending investigations and inconclusive investigations in respect of many of the issues raised in the report”.
Order allegations include:..