'Public Protector not a party the commissioner may give taxpayer information to'

While Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she will oppose an urgent legal bid by the South African Revenue Service intended to restrict her from obtaining former president Jacob Zuma’s tax information, Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter insists that the Public Protector is not mentioned as a party to whom he may give taxpayer information.

Last month Mkhwebane issued a subpoena to obtain the former president's tax information as part of an investigation into a 2017 complaint from the Democratic Alliance claiming that Zuma pocketed undeclared money from a security company during his presidency.

This is not a matter of our opinion or a matter of our sentiments and it does not relate to any taxpayer. The Tax Administration Act is very clear about who Sars must give taxpayer information to, under what conditions, for what purpose and in this regard it leaves the commissioner of Sars with no discretion.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

The Public Protector is not mentioned as a party to whom the commissioner may give taxpayer information.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

The subpoena puts us in a position where if I ignore the Public Protector's request, then I commit a criminal offence in terms of the Public Protector's Act, on the one hand, if I do give out the information I commit an offence also criminal in terms of the Tax Administration Act. The only way one can resolve this is to seek legal clarity.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

She can get an order from the court and we would respond to it gladly, this is not a matter of trying to up-stand the public protector, there is no interest for us to do that.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

Zuma has since tweeted about the matter, saying he has nothing to hide and gives the Public Protector permission to access his records.

Click on the link below to hear more from Kieswitter....


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