SARS boss was there at same time as Gupta associates
SA Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane was in Dubai in December 2015 when a who’s who of the Gupta network were also in town, travel records obtained by The Times show.
Moyane’s spokesman said he could not provide details when asked specifically about a trip the tax commissioner made to Dubai, where he stayed from December 23 2015 to January 8 2016.
“SARS is prohibited by its policies to divulge or discuss its employees and related matters between employee and employer in the public domain,” SARS spokesman Sandile Memela said.
“Please note that the commissioner reserves his right should personal information pertaining to him be used for public consumption,” he said.
SARS is being pressured to explain the payment of a R70-million VAT refund in June this year, with reports alleging that Moyane personally intervened to get the payment processed. SARS has declined to comment on these reports except to say the payment was not irregular.
Movement records show at least another five trips that place Moyane in Dubai at the same time as the Guptas and their key associates between June 2015 and December 2016. SARS was asked if Moyane would explain any other trips he might have made to Dubai but said it had nothing to add to its earlier comment. Some of these trips might have been made by Moyane in transit to other destinations.
A key date is the Dubai trip on which Moyane spent Christmas and New Year’s Day in Dubai, from December 23 2015. Moyane has three passports – diplomatic, official and personal. The December 2015 trip to Dubai was on his personal passport.
This visit coincided with the presence in Dubai of all three Gupta brothers, Rajesh, Atul and Ajay, as well as of Duduzane Zuma, and Gift and Thato Magushule, sons of Free State Premier Ace Magushule.
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Eskom’s now suspended chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, was there too, as was the executive PA to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Kim Davids, who resigned yesterday after a Times exposé.
That December was an important month for the Gupta family and South Africa.
The family’s controversial purchase of Optimum coal mine was finalised, Trillian Capital Partners got the ball rolling on deals that would eventually reap hundreds of millions in payments from Eskom, and Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was axed and replaced by Des van Rooyen – costing the economy billions.
Archived SARS media releases do not contain any mention of Moyane making official trips to the United Arab Emirates at the time.
Moyane and Gupta allegations have intersected before. He was part of the ministerial team set up to deal with the landing of a Gupta charter aircraft carrying family wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013. The team produced a report widely seen as soft on the family.