September 10, 2018 / 11:45 AM / in a month

Bain changes S.Africa management after conceding lapses in tax agency work

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Consultancy Bain & Company said on Monday that its managing partner in its Johannesburg office would step back from day-to-day operations after admitting that its work for South Africa’s tax agency fell short of its standards.

Vittorio Massone, Bain’s managing partner in Johannesburg, appeared before an inquiry into the South African Revenue Service (SARS) last month and called his firm’s work on a restructuring plan for SARS a “massive failure”.

SARS had built up a reputation as a world-class tax agency, but it was dogged by revenue shortfalls and corruption scandals under the tenure of suspended boss Tom Moyane, who hired Bain for the restructuring plan in 2015.

Moyane, a close ally of former South African president Jacob Zuma, is facing disciplinary charges relating to alleged misconduct at SARS. He denies wrongdoing.

Bain is one of several major foreign firms to have become embroiled in governance scandals involving Zuma, who was ousted by the ruling African National Congress in February.

New President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched several investigations into corruption and maladministration during Zuma’s nine-year presidency. Zuma says the corruption allegations levelled against him are part of a witch-hunt designed to discredit him.

Bain said in a statement on Monday that its partner Tiaan Moolman would oversee its day-to-day work in South Africa so that Massone could focus on cooperating with the SARS inquiry. Massone will remain a Bain partner.

The U.S.-headquartered consultancy added that it would set aside the 164 million rand ($11 million), plus interest, that it had earned from its work for SARS. That money could be used as prescribed by the SARS inquiry, or for projects to benefit South Africa, it said.

$1 = 15.1300 rand Reporting by Alexander Winning Editing by James Macharia and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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