Law firm billed Sars R120‚000 - to read a book

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

Suspended SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane had the tax agency pay a law firm R120‚000 to read a book in order to determine whether it defamed him.

The exorbitant fees paid to Moyane’s lawyers‚ Mashiane‚ Moodley & Monama‚ by Sars during his tenure came under the spotlight at the Sars commission of inquiry on Monday‚ with the tax agency’s human resources head and key Moyane ally Luther Lebelo telling the commission he had repeatedly complained to the suspended tax boss about the hefty invoices from the law firm.

Lebelo himself is under fire for instructing the same firm to compile evidence on the alleged “rogue unit” at Sars in preparation for his own appearance before the inquiry‚ which was invoiced at R1m.

David Maphakela‚ partner at Mashiane‚ Moodley & Monama‚ is not pleased at being hauled before the inquiry and through his lawyers told the commission he would not give oral evidence on Monday.

Maphakela had provided an affidavit to the inquiry and told the commission he believes this is sufficient. This culminated in a showdown with retired judge Robert Nugent‚ who eventually ruled that he was compelled to give oral evidence. Maphakela indicated he would challenge Nugent’s ruling in court.

Evidence leader‚ advocate Carol Steinberg‚ revealed that Maphakela’s law firm invoiced Sars to read a book to establish whether Moyane was referenced and whether the information contained in it was defamatory. This had been billed at R120‚000.

Business Day 

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