What was Moyane doing in Russia?

Tom Moyane.
Tom Moyane.
Image: Esa Alexander / The Times

Mystery surrounds a trip that Tom Moyane, suspended revenue service boss, took to Russia in November 2017.

To this day, neither former finance minister Malusi Gigaba, who signed off on the trip, nor the SA Revenue Service (SARS), know why Moyane travelled to Russia.

Gigaba was grilled on his role in signing off the trip on Friday at judge Robert Nugent’s commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance issues at the revenue collector.

This after acting SARS commissioner Mark Kingon earlier this week submitted a request to Moyane – a copy of which was sent to the commission – for information regarding the nature of the trip.

In his submission, Kingon says that Moyane sent an urgent request to Gigaba on November 17 2017, for a trip to Moscow between November 18 and 23. But due process was not followed as Moyane did not provide sufficient information or motivation on what the trip was for, or report back on the business of the trip after he returned.

Now Kingon wants to know why the suspended SARS boss went to Russia on official SARS business.

Gigaba told the commission: “It does happen that there are urgent trips that come up. You have to sign off because they are urgent and they provide reports afterwards for such trips.

The request indicated that it’s for an urgent tax matter that needed to be signed off. When such requests come, you take it that it’s a matter that involves tax issues and some of the tax issues are confidential.

“If SARS itself was not aware and there are no reports that are available and the trip itself is not known to SARS, I myself would be keen to know what was the purpose of the trip. I relied on the integrity of the person [Moyane] and never thought the person would provide me with wrong information.”

But Gigaba admitted that even after Moyane returned, no information on the trip was sent to the ministry.

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