SARS is suing the Mail & Guardian for defamation

EWN's Gia Niccolaides spoke to Stephen Grootes as a press briefing at Sars was about to begin. The tax briefing is to release preliminary outcomes of revenue collection for 2015/2016 fiscal year.

Both Sars Commisionner Tom Moyane and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan are expected to be there and it has raised eyebrows given their recent public spats.

They are going to be seated next one another.

Gia Niccolaides, EWN Reporter

On Monday Minister Gordhan said that he had provided answers to the hawks to their 27 questions about the establishment of the Sars unit, saying it was legal and essential.

We will have to wait for the outcome of the investigation, but Moyane is determined to pursue it.

Gia Niccolaides, EWN Reporter

Meanwhile investigative journalist Sam Sole from M&G's Amabhungane investigative unit talked to Stephen Grootes about being sued for R4 million by Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane, his deputy and Sars for defamation relating to an article published about a unit called the Large Business Centre at Sars.

It's important not to confuse the units, because there are a lot in Sars. Obviously this is not the 'rogue' unit. But when Moyane took over, he started a process of restructuring ant Sars, and it is this process that Minister Gordhan asked him to stop. And he has apparently refused to stop.

Sam Sole, Investigative Journalist Amabhungane

Sole explains that the unit referred to is one called the Large Business Centre. This unit deals with Sars's biggest corporate clients and high net worth individuals.

In other words, the big tax payers. And the restructuring that was underway at Sars was causing a lot of unhappiness within middle management within Sars.

Sam Sole, Investigative Journalist Amabhungane

Sole says they spoke to a variety of sources and there were certainly issues that raised concern, and that are of public interest.

Allegations that they wanted to get control of this key revenue generating division.

Sam Sole, Investigative Journalist Amabhungane

Sole says before publishing the article about the unit called the Large Business Centre, the questions and allegations were sent to Commissioner Tom Moyane and Sars but no response was received. Sole says it is unlikely the Finance Minister would have stopped Moyane's 'restructuring' just out of pique.

Sars is the basis for the whole State to function. If you mess it up, then all the building blocks come tumbling down.

Sam Sole, Investigative Journalist Amabhungane

This article first appeared on 702 : SARS is suing the Mail & Guardian for defamation


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