The R200m SARS contract: No time sheets? No problem

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The R200m SARS contract: No time sheets? No problem

Nugent commission of inquiry hears how suspended SARS boss Tom Moyane approved incomplete invoices

Journalist


The involvement of two global consultancy firms in the destabilising of the SA Revenue Service under now-suspended commissioner Tom Moyane came under the spotlight at Judge Robert Nugent’s commission of inquiry on Tuesday.
The commission heard how Moyane had a meeting with Bain and Company almost a year before he was appointed. It was then that Bain proposed a renewal of the organisation. The commission also heard evidence regarding a dodgy IT contract awarded to Gartner without proper procurement processes being followed.
Bain pocketed more than R160m to produce a restructuring model which almost collapsed the institution, and Gartner was awarded a R200m contract to review SARS’s IT strategy.
According to an affidavit by Bain’s managing partner, Vittorio Massone, parts of which were read at the commission, the first meeting between him and Moyane took place in October 2013. Moyane was appointed as commissioner in September 2014.
At the meeting, Massone presented an “outside-in” document to Moyane entitled “SARS 2.0”, which showed the results of an assessment conducted by Bain on the revenue collector using public information. It also made recommendations for changing the organisational structure.
The report stated that SARS’s governance model was too “concentrated” and recommended an assessment and reshuffling of the executive within Moyane’s first 100 days in office.
Massone’s evidence came before testimony by Treasury director for compliance and monitoring Solly Tshitangano, who highlighted how Moyane allegedly appointed Gartner without following proper procurement processes.
Tshitangano said Gartner was “not the first choice to render this service” and there was no evidence as to when the terms of reference were sent to the consultancy firm. He said invoices from Gartner between March and May 2015 had no time sheets attached for proof of work, yet payments were approved by Moyane.
Gartner had invoiced SARS for about R200m from 2014 and the contract expires in November 2020.
The commission will on Wednesday hear evidence from Yousuf Denath and Hlengani Mathebula, both senior staff members at SARS responsible for fraud investigations and governance, respectively.

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