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Tom Moyane lays down the law in letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa

Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.
Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.
Image: Trevor Samson

Suspended SA Revenue Service Commissioner Tom Moyane has appealed directly to President Cyril Ramaphosa to halt one of two inquiries into tax administration and his alleged misconduct – or face urgent legal action.

“Our client has sharply raised in both proceedings‚ the gross unfairness of being simultaneously subjected to both processes when the subject matter enquired into‚ as it pertains to him‚ is substantially the same and/or largely overlapping‚” Moyane’s lawyer Eric Mabuza wrote to Ramaphosa‚ hours after retired Judge Robert Nugent dismissed the same argument about his inquiry into tax administration.

In a scathing ruling‚ the judge dismissed all five of the objections made by Advocate Dali Mpofu‚ describing his submissions as a “disgrace” and “abusive”.

In his letter to Ramaphosa‚ Mabuza said it seemed Nugent “has adopted the attitude that these are issues which do not fall under his jurisdiction but that of the President. His attitude seem to be that he is obliged to follow the instructions of the President irrespective of whether those instructions are lawful or unlawful”.

As a result‚ Mabuza was now taking Moyane’s objections straight to Ramaphosa. Those objections include a demand that the president remove Michael Katz as an advisor to the Nugent inquiry.

“A second objection‚ raised only in the Commission of Inquiry‚ is your unlawful appointment of Prof Katz as an assistant and thereby a decision maker therein‚ despite the close personal relationship and association you enjoy with him more specifically but not limited to him being your personal and business attorney in respect of past and present legal proceedings. This renders Prof Katz as an assumed agent or extension of yourself‚” Mabuza wrote to Ramaphosa.

He added that‚ as a result‚ Moyane had “reasonable” perceptions that Katz was biased against him.

“At this stage‚ suffice to say that‚ based on such perceptions as well as the patent unfairness and irrationality (not to mention the waste of taxpayers’ money) associated with your simultaneous appointment and/or institution of both inquiries as well as your appointment of Prof Katz‚ we are instructed to demand‚ as we hereby do that the President must:

-Disestablish or stay one or both of the inquiries. (Your legal advisors might inform you that in terms of our law it is the later proceedings which should be stopped‚ but there are exceptions to that general rule which may or may not apply in the present situation); -Remove Prof Katz as your appointed assistant to Commissioner/Judge Nugent; and/or -Respond to the aforesaid‚ in compliance with our client’s demands‚ as soon as possible but no later than 16h00 on Friday 6 July 2018‚ failing which our client will have no option but to enforce his constitutional rights including but not limited to approaching the High Court or the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis to seek appropriate relief.”

Judge Nugent has made it clear that he intends to complete his inquiry by November. As yet‚ it remains unclear when the misconduct inquiry against Moyane will get under way. He has yet to respond to the charges outlined against him by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan‚ but has already made it clear that he wants to address those allegations in oral evidence.

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