Nene, Gigaba in hot seat at SARS Inquiry

Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and current Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will be the highest profile witnesses yet to testify before the Nugent Commission of Inquiry.

Gigaba, Nene and Judge Dennis Davis will on Friday appear before the inquiry in Pretoria.

This week the inquiry heard from Treasury’s Deputy Director General Ismail Momoniat who said that the increase in the VAT rate to 15% would not have been necessary if there was not a shortfall in SARS revenue collection.

Earlier this month Momoniat told Parliament that the finance minister would wait for the conclusion of the inquiry before tabling amendments to the SARS Act. The changes to legislation, announced by former finance Minister Malusi Gigaba in February, is intended to improve the accountability of the tax agency to the finance minister.

This was on the recommendation of the Davis Tax Committee’s report on tax administration published last year, Momoniat told Parliament.

Global consultancy Bain & Company also appeared before the inquiry this week. In 2014 Bain conducted a diagnostic for the tax agency which ultimately led to the controversial restructuring at SARS under suspended Commissioner Tom Moyane, Fin24 reported.

SARS’ Large Business Centre responsible for the collection of tax from big companies and a unit investigating the illicit trade were shut down through the restructuring.

Further, the R164m contract awarded to Bain for its services was called into question at the inquiry.

Friday's hearing is scheduled to start at 09:00.

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