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SARS official tongue-tied at inquiry

Head of employment relations at the South African Revenue Services Luther Lebelo struggled to answer vital questions at the inquiry into tax administration at the revenue service.

Lebelo was asked to explain the legality of a number of issues in which he has been implicated.

He was tongue-tied when asked about where the revenue service sourced legal opinion to give executives bonuses in 2016 – without treasury’s approval.

 Luther Lebelo

He simply could not explain the origins of the three legal opinions that drove him to pay over R3-million in bonuses.
Lebelo was also grilled on former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s suspension in 2014.

He says Pillay was suspended for his alleged involvement in the so-called rogue unit but when asked why Pillay was not given an opportunity to present a file in his defence – Lebelo pleaded ignorance once again.

Once labelled as suspended Commissioner Tom Moyane’s enforcer, Lebelo had his work cut out for him during his testimony on Thursday.

That was to answer vital questions about key decisions made, that cost the taxpayers millions.

He, however, thought things would go his way, even trying to read his submission from his file about how he wasn’t part of the purge at the revenue service.

Mogola Makola became the first SARS executive member to take the stand – she has only been at the revenue service for a year.

She got to work closely with former chief operations officer Jonas Makwakwa and Moyane.

The last day of phase three of the inquiry will see Hlengani Mathebula, who was a no-show earlier this week, finally testify at the commission.

Source: News24

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