Home South Africa News Sars denies trying to protect Zuma from Mkhwebane

Sars denies trying to protect Zuma from Mkhwebane

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President Jacob Zuma

Edward Kieswetter has launched an urgent application to keep the public protector out of the former president’s tax affairs.

Tensions between Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter are playing out, with an urgent interdict launched by Kieswetter that, if successful, would limit the public protector’s powers, Business Day reports.

The public protector has issued a subpoena in an attempt to to obtain Zuma’s tax information as part of an investigation into a complaint laid by former DA leader Mmusi Maimane – which resulted from claims made in investigative journalist Jacques Pauw’s bestseller The President’s Keepers – into payments the former president is accused of receiving from a security company.

Kieswetter, however, is attempting to get the High Court in Pretoria to halt the implementation of the subpoena, and to order that Sars officials should be allowed to withhold tax information from the office of the public protector.

He wants the high court to rule that the “public protector’s subpoena powers do not extend to taxpayer information”, and he wants Mkhwebane to pay 15% of the legal cost, which would result from her choosing to oppose the interdict.

Mkhwebane and Kieswetter have butted heads before, with reports indicating that the public protector was investigating his appointment as Sars commissioner.

Before this, the two found themselves at odds over the public protector’s report on the so-called Sars “rogue unit”. While Mkhwebane’s report said the unit operated illegally, Kieswetter said there was no evidence it was unlawful.

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Mkhwebane has accused Kieswetter of “colluding” with former Sars commissioner and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan during her investigation which led to the report.

Sars told Business Day that while they couldn’t comment fully on the case due to it currently being before the court, they were aware of how this interdict would look – like they were protecting Zuma. They denied this was the case.

“We are aware of how this may be misconstrued. But it is simply about the Tax Administration Act, that binds us to confidentiality on any taxpayer affairs,” said spokesperson Sandile Memela.

In The President’s Keepers, Pauw reported that Zuma had received R1 million from businessman Roy Moodley’s company Royal Security.

This led to a complaint from Maimane, who questioned why these alleged payments were not declared by Zuma.

Spokesperson for the office of the public protector, Oupa Segalwe, acknowledged that he and Mkhwebane were aware of the interdict.

EWN reported in July that Mkhwebane was set to launch two more investigations into Sars, including one into Kieswetter’s appointment.

This reportedly includes the appointment of Kieswetter, who began work in May, saying that he saw it as his duty to rebuild Sars and restore its credibility.

A probe into staff matters at the revenue service is also said to be conducted by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. This relates to staff appointments in 2009, as well as a complaint that was received very recently, according to Segalwe.

The matters are related to employment and Sars human resources processes, according to News24.

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Mshoza

“She told us she wanted to give American rapper Nicki Minaj a run for her money,” said the source. According to sources close to the situation, Mshoza has been rejecting gigs so she can fully recover. continue reading

Source: The Citizen

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