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SARS keeps mum on suspended No. 2's salary and benefits

Sep 07 2017 18:47
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Jonas Makwakwa, former second-in-command at the South African Revenue Service (SARS), has been earning a full salary with benefits and other provisions for close to a year since his suspension on September 15 2016.

The monetary amount of the salary and benefits are however a mystery, as SARS said it was not at liberty to divulge "personal information" of staff members. 

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, in a parliamentary response to a question by David Maynier of the DA, said SARS was prohibited from discussing the personal and confidential information of employees. 

The amounts and nature of Makwakwa's benefits, including bonuses and allowances, could therefore not be disclosed he said. 

“However SARS can confirm that, in accordance with the SARS suspension policy, Mr. Makwakwa is suspended with full pay and benefits and all other suspension provisions apply during this period.”

Makwakwa was suspended in mid-September 2016 following reports that he allegedly made "unusual and suspicious" deposits totalling R1.2m into a number of bank accounts between 2010 and 2016.

READ: Moyane in the dark on SARS' Makwakwa probe 

In addition, more than R450 000 was allegedly deposited into the account of his girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elskie.

Since the suspension, Parliament has been trying in vain to get an update on an investigation into the Makwakwa allegations. Law firm Hogan Lovells had compiled an “interim report" following the investigation, but SARS told members of Parliament in June this year that it was not in a position to provide details on the content of the report, as it first had to conclude its own disciplinary process.

At the time, Yunus Carrim (ANC), chairperson of the standing committee on finance, told SARS that the matter could not carry on indefinitely. "Mr Makwakwa may be as innocent as Mother Theresa or Mahatma Ghandi, but we need the matter to be concluded."

He gave SARS a deadline of August to report back on Makwakwa.

SARS agreed to the August deadline, but pointed out that it had no control over the section in the investigation that deals with criminal conduct, as that matter was in the hands of the Hawks. 

Dismissal or resignation? 

In a separate question, Maynier asked Gigaba whether the services of SARS financial chief Matsobane Matlwa had been terminated, or whether he had resigned, while fellow DA member Alf Lees wanted to know if Matlwa had disciplinary charges against him.

Gigaba in his reply said Matlwa resigned for personal reasons and at the time of his resignation there were no disciplinary charges against him.

Fin24 earlier reported that Matlwa confirmed he had resigned out of his own accord, and that he had not been suspended or marched out the building, as had been alleged in media reports. 

READ: SARS CFO confirms he resigned, says there's no conflict with Moyane 

Matlwa said he handed in his resignation in the last week of July and met with SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane beforehand to speak to him about it.

According to Matlwa, the SARS commissioner “did not push him away” and denied having any knowledge about where the speculation had originated from.

Matlwa said he and Moyane agreed he would work out his notice period at home. 

His last day in office was August 25. 

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