Judge admits he didn’t properly investigate SARS ‘rogue unit’ allegations

EWN reports that Judge Frank Kroon has admitted before the SARS inquiry that he didn’t properly investigate before finding that the taxman’s ‘rogue unit’ was conducting itself unlawfully.

According to eNCA‘s report he in fact was relying on what Tom Moyane told him, as well as Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane’s report and KPMG’s report – which has since been withdrawn.

The KPMG report was so bad that according Fin24, Forensic Roy Waligora told the Ntsebeza inquiry that Johan van der Walt had plagiarised large sections of it.

When KPMG international took a look at it, KPMG’s South Africa CEO, board chairman and several of its senior partners resigned according to eNCA.

Bloomberg reports that KPMG is still suffering major fallout from the damage to their reputation caused by its relationship with the Guptas and the SARS report.

Gordhan referred to KPMG as a willing partner in state capture in 2017 after the report was withdrawn according to Fin24.

Former SARS group executive for tax and customs enforcement investigations Johann van Loggerenberg wrote an open letter to Kroon in The Citizen saying it shouldn’t have taken a commission of inquiry to get the judge to speak out.

While he praised Kroon for apologising to Gordhan, he wrote, “I can also assist Judge Kroon with the contact details of the 26 people and their families and other people who have been harmed as a result of the Kroon Advisory Board statement – should he be inclined to consider apologising to them too.”

My Take

I don’t blame Kroon for relying on the KPMG report, at the time this was one of the biggest and most well regarded auditing firms in South Africa.

You’d expect them to have done the work.

This is why it was the target of capture – precisely because of the value of its brand, the trust people had in it, which had been earned over many years.

When it was captured, it allowed corrupt dealings to have a veneer of legitimacy because here was this highly regarded company ‘independently’ saying whatever the corrupt parties wanted it to say.

We often look at state capture and we think of the face of Jacob Zuma or the Guptas, it is important to also think of Trevor Hoole, the CEO who resigned from KPMG. Corruption comes in every colour of the rainbow nation.

Anyway much as I don’t blame Kroon for trusting KPMG at the time because I could see how he could be fooled, I do blame him for not speaking out the second the report was withdrawn.

If he based his decision that the ‘rogue unit’ was acting unlawfully on this report – the second the report was withdrawn he should have come forward and publicly changed his mind.

I agree with van Loggerenberg  It really shouldn’t have taken a commission of inquiry.


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