South Africa Spells Out Case Against Suspended Tax Chief

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s government spelled out its case against suspended tax chief Tom Moyane, who is facing a disciplinary inquiry, accusing him of failing to keep his political superiors properly informed, frustrating a probe into his deputy’s conduct and approving staff bonuses without proper authorization.

In an affidavit filed to lawyer Azhar Bham, who is presiding over Moyane’s disciplinary hearing, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said Moyane failed to notify him that his deputy was accused of making unusual cash deposits into his bank account. Moyane also sent his deputy a confidential report compiled by Financial Intelligence Center, which was illegal, said Gordhan, who now oversees state companies.

“Mr. Moyane’s actions in this regard brought the South African Revenue Service into disrepute,” Gordhan wrote. There was “a profound lack of judgment on his part and dereliction of duty,” he said.

Moyane, who has denied wrongdoing and refused to resign, had clashed with Gordhan over plans for a management and systems overhaul at the revenue collection agency. The tax chief was a close ally of former President Jacob Zuma, who stepped down in February under pressure from the ruling party after an almost nine-year tenure that was marred by a series of scandals.

Zuma was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa, who suspended Moyane in March, saying he had lost faith in his ability to lead the tax agency.

Illegal Payments

Gordhan accused Moyane of unilaterally giving the tax agency’s managers performance bonuses and salary increases, and said his warnings that the payments would be illegal unless they had ministerial approval went unheeded.

“An accounting authority that makes or permits financial misconduct commits an act of financial misconduct, which is grounds for dismissal or suspension,” Gordhan wrote.

The minister also alleged that Moyane had misled parliament when answering questions about procurement processes and the investigation into his deputy, and had instructed one of his managers to feign illness so that he wouldn’t have to appear before a probe into an investigative unit established by the tax agency.

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