SARS has launched an urgent court bid to prevent the Public Protector from accessing Jacob Zuma’s tax records as part of her investigation into claims that a KZN businessman ‘paid’ the former president as he began his presidential term.
Busisiwe Mkhwebane issued a subpoena to obtain Zuma’s tax information in October, Business Day reported.
The Public Protector in probing allegations that Zuma had received undeclared payments from a security company during (in at least) the first four months of his presidential term.
The claim first surfaced in Jacques Pauw’s book ‘The President’s Keepers,’ which alleged that Zuma received R1-million a month from Royal Security, a company owned by businessman Roy Moodley.
Pauw wrote that neither Zuma, nor Moodley, declared these payments to SARS.
Tax officials then picked up on these payments, which caused ructions within the agency at the time, the publication reported.
SARS threatened legal action against Pauw for publishing “confidential taxpayer information.”
South Africa’s tax agency now wants an urgent stay against the implementation of the subpoena granted to Mkhwebane in October.
SARS reportedly wants the High Court to rule that it can withhold taxpayer information from the Public Protector, and that her office’s subpoena powers do not extend to taxpayer information.
It further wants Mkhwebane to pay 15% of the legal costs in the case.