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SARS denies Moyane acted unlawfully in Gupta VAT repayments

Mar 16 2018 16:15
Khulekani Magubane

Cape Town – The SA Revenue Service came out swinging on Friday, arguing that its head Tom Moyane had acted within the guidelines of tax law when handling VAT refunds to a Gupta-linked company.

This comes after the Daily Maverick on Friday reported that Moyane was involved in approving more than R70m in VAT refunds to Oakbay Investments, via third party company Terbium Financial Services.

On Friday afternoon, the revenue service released a statement arguing that Moyane's actions had been consistent with the law, and the refund was above board.

SARS argued that Moyane did not decide whether the payments should be made or not.

It also denied that Moyane had ever instructed any SARS employee to deal with the Oakbay complaint in one way or another.

And while staff had exchanged views on the legality of the payments with the tax body's legal experts, SARS said Moyane was not privy to these discussions.

“The legal department, led by Ms Refiloe Mokoena, which comprises experienced and well respected tax experts, had to provide a legal opinion whether or not the VAT Act allowed for the refund of the taxpayer to be paid into the Oakbay account or a third party account,” the statement said. 

"Various views were exchanged among the legal experts in SARS and their leader Ms Mokoena, but never with the Commissioner.

"Mr Moyane was copied in on the email exchanges that took place among these experts, which is a norm in high-level matters but he never intervened in these email exchanges,  either for or against a particular view."

Parliament’s standing committee on finance chairperson Yunus Carrim, meanwhile, said earlier on Friday that the committee has asked its legal advisor to weigh in on the lawfullness of SARS making VAT repayment via third parties in general. 

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