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Sars Inquiry is about weapons, death threats

PRETORIA – A senior officer of the SA Revenue Service (SARS) on Friday testified that he was told to leave the revenue authority or to defy death.

"The last 33 months have been the hardest for me personally, maintaining my personal integrity and carrying out my responsibilities carefully, due diligence, had a high price," said Hlengani Mathebula, chief executive of Sars, who said earlier responsible for enforcement.

"The environment did not provide sufficient space and support to be able to work effectively and sufficiently." The enormous amount of interference caused optimum performance. "

Mathebula told the Nugent Commission of Inquiry – charged with investigating tax administration and administration at the Sars – how he had received death threats, and was arrested by people in a car with blue lights.

He told how suspended Commissioner Tom Moyane "would constantly walk to mine [personal assistant] PA to ask her to explain where I am, but he would not ask me ".

Mathebula said that Moyane would make his trip, despite the fact that his journeys had been approved by the same commissioner.

"I would like this to be recorded … an SMS [from an unidentified person] said & # 39; stop your shit or you are dead. Or leave Sars. & # 39; If something happens to me, I want to make sure that this committee knows. One day I left this office very late and I was knocked down by a blue light car. I stopped because I thought it was police. Two gentlemen got out of the car, put a gun on my head and said I had to leave this organization, "said Mathebula.

Earlier, Mathebula was questioned by the committee's leader, lawyer Carol Steinberg, about a memorandum of September 2016, which he signed, on the way to forming an internal "tactical interventions unit" whose members would be attached to the Directorate for research into priority crimes (known as hawks) to investigate corruption in the tobacco industry.

"A year ago, Sars had said that this kind of activity, and this kind of buying [tactical] equipment is illegal. I just do not know how the same organization, a year later, thought it was not unlawful, "Steinberg said.

"The equipment that has to be purchased is two pool vehicles, the costs of the team members of the task force, a boardroom to be used until a safe house is identified for the team members.You will remember that the so-called villain reportedly rogue, because of secrecy, intelligence activities, etc., "Steinberg said.

"This was setting up the kind of intelligence unit that Sars had said was unlawful a year earlier."

Mathebula said that the mention of a safe house was "just a mistake" on his part.

"That team had to operate permanently from a Sars-boardroom, the part of the safe house was a mistake on my part. This memo had tossed back and forth between myself and the Commissioner and myself, because in the first memo many things that corresponded with what I had read in the media [regarding the rogue unit] and I insisted that the memo be drastically changed to reflect what I eventually signed, "Mathebula said.

He said for weeks that there were requests to sign that note, but he felt very uncomfortable.

Mathebula said he felt that Moyane was the right person to sign.

One day the commissioner came to an office next to mine and said that we could walk downstairs. He asked us to leave our telephones and I walked down with him. We were in my car and the commissioner called me with my clan name and said, please sign that memo. I just said why, and he just said sign. I said that I felt uncomfortable, then he told me a story. He said that he had been with those people and that they had said to him: & # 39; tell your family & # 39; we know where he stays, we know where he comes from, the school he went to. "That caused a shiver along my back," testified Mathebula.

"It seemed like a very ominous threat, and that could explain the supervision that I had later on the matter. [with Moyane] I then signed the note. & # 39;

Mathebula said he was "forcibly" to sign the memorandum.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed retired judge Robert Nugent in June to inform the committee of allegations of financial misconduct at SARS, including a deficit of R 50 billion between 2014 and 2018 under Moyane.

Ramaphosa suspended Moyane after a failure of confidence in his running of the essential organization.

The investigation will continue in mid-October.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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