Crime plays after Tom crippled Sars | Company

The first part of the public hearings of the Nugent committee focused on how the South African Revenue Service (SARS) was built and that was demolished after the arrival of the now-scrapped Commissioner Tom Moyane.

The second part, which started this week, revealed how tax fraudsters abused the now weakened Sars.

Sars officials from enforcement units who concentrated on high-quality and high-risk individuals told the committee how they could no longer investigate tax claims in the illegal sector after Moyane introduced a new business model in 2015, allegedly on the advice of Bain & Company.

READ MORE: Sars efficiency moves backwards after implementing the Moyane-approved model

The officials' testimonies were confirmed by at least five other officials, some of whom chose not to appear before the committee and made sworn statements instead, one of the evidence leaders, Carol Steinberg, said before the start of Tuesday's hearings. .

"At this stage we are reasonably confident that it is not an individual opinion or resentment," she said, adding that there was still room to test the evidence.

The type of cases that should be investigated by these units included important players in organized crime, smuggling, poaching, and tobacco and liquor fields, as well as wealthy individuals with offshore entities and special vehicles to hide their revenue streams.

Keith Hendrikse, a former senior manager for the national project office in the Western Cape, stressed how the case of "one of the biggest [crime bosses] in South Africa, "which Sars was guilty of R400 million, derailed with the help of some of Sars' officials.

He said that when he was at the Cape Town office after his unit was broken up, he had met a Sars auditor of the newly formed internal investigation unit that had collected the control files for this notorious taxpayer.

"I asked whose instructions this was and he said that he was not sure, but as far as he knows, he was told that this was commissioned by the commissioner."

Hendrikse said that the files that filled a room were used for evidence in court cases and that the auditor could not walk with them.

Later he discovered that the accountant had been instructed to write to the taxpayer that his research was being assessed. The taxpayer produced the e-mail in court and said that Sars can not go through a lawsuit for carrying out the control assessment.

"In my opinion, that was a deliberate attempt to derail that process.

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