The Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture proceedings on Wednesday heard a claim about how global management consulting firm Bain & Company had access to insider information at the South Africa Revenue Service (Sars).
Former Bain partner Athol Williams appeared before commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for the second day running. In his affidavit he said that in 2014 the company had multiple meetings with Jonas Makwakwa, who was a head of internal audit at Sars at the time.
The affidavit, read out by advocate Alistair Franklin, said that Makwakwa, who would later become the head of business and individual taxes, was feeding Bain managing partner Vittorio Massone with information about happenings at Sars.
The information was used by Bain to advise Tom Moyane on Sars operations, who was present in the meetings months before he was “surprisingly” appointed Sars commissioner.
Moyane was appointed in September 2014 and eventually fired by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 1 November 2018.
[Reading] These meetings were with Vittorio, Moyane and Makwakwa. They also happened in plain sight in the office. As Vittorio indicated during witness prep, Makwakwa was playing sort of a “deep throat” on events happening at SARS and feeding into Moyane.#StateCaptureInquiry
— State Capture Commission (@StateCaptureCom) March 24, 2021
In 2018, Massone testified at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars, explaining that the purpose of the meetings between Bain and Moyane was for the company to advise the commissioner how to achieve his professional goals.
Williams told the commission on Tuesday it had become clear Massone knew Moyane would become the next Sars commissioner.
Following his appointment, Bain was handed a contract signed in January 2015 to help restructure Sars.
The company was said to have been paid R164 million for its work restructuring the revenue service’s operations.
Williams said he understood that the feeding of information from a senior Sars official to outsiders was illegal.
“Chair, firstly, Bain had made it and continues to assert that all the information used to prepare for Mr Moyane was based on public information. But as you can see from some of the materials that there is actual information no one outside of Sars could have possibly known. So there was this level of specificity.
“I’m not a legal expert, but my sense is that a senior executive in a public institution was feeding sensitive information to outsiders to me is troubling and I also understand that it’s illegal to do that because of [the magnitude] of Sars,” he said.