South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Oupa Magashula has resigned following an investigation which revealed that he put the reputation of SARS at risk by offering a high-paying job to a Chartered Accountant (CA) without following the right procedure, finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced in a media statement on Friday.
The process of hiring new staff involves advertising a position, interviewing and selecting the best applicant. According to reports, in 2010, Magashula offered a job to a CA unprofessionally over the phone and promised to pay her R1 million, more than double the salary she was earning at that time (less than R400 000).
In March, following media reports, which questioned the integrity of staff recruitment processes at SARS, Pravin Gordhan appointed retired Constitutional Court judge, Justice Zak Yacoob, and Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane to conduct a fact-finding inquiry to probe the truthfulness of the allegations against Magashula and establish whether they had resulted in any breach of SARS processes or good governance.
The investigation found that the allegations were true. Magashula offered a job to a CA in a recorded phone conversation. According to media reports, the conversation was facilitated by Mr Timothy Marimuthu, a businessman believed to have influence on Magashula. Marimuthu, who was once convicted of drug dealing, is a friend of the CA that Magashula offered a job. The investigation could not establish if Marimuthu had any influence on Magashula. Also, the CA was unable to accept the job due to its location.
There was also no evidence that Mr Magashula committed a crime. However, it was concluded that his conduct placed the reputation and credibility of SARS at risk. Magashula resigned on the 12th of July following the outcome of this investigation. “He admitted to the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Finance that his actions constituted failure to promote and maintain a high standard of professionalism and ethical behaviour that is expected of the Commissioner of SARS,” Gordhan said.