03/08/2017 05:30 BST | Updated 03/08/2017 05:30 BST

SARS Commissioner Visited Dubai At The Same Time As Guptas, GuptaLeaks Show

Tom Moyane's visit coincided with the firing of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

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South African Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene walks with Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service Tom Moyane and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas.Photo: RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images

South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane apparently visited Dubai in December 2015 at a critical time, when the Gupta family and members of its network were also in the country, negotiating key deals for the family, Business Day reported on Thursday.

This is according to travel records contained in the Gupta leaks.

SARS is under pressure to explain a R70 million VAT refund paid to the Guptas, which was reportedly paid out after Moyane's intervention. SARS says the payment was not irregular but would not comment further.

Moyane reportedly made five trips to Dubai between June 2015 and December 2016, at the same time as the Guptas. Business Day reported that some of these could have been stop-overs en route to other destinations.

But a key date is the December 2015 trip, when Moyane went to Dubai on December 23. This trip was reportedly taken on his personal passport.

At the same time, all three Gupta brothers were in Dubai, along with Duduzane Zuma, the president's son, and two sons of Free State premier Ace Magashule. Eskom's suspended chief executive Anoj Singh and public enterprises minister Lynne Brown's PA, Kim Davids, who was asked to resign on Wednesday, were also in Dubai at the same time.

Business Day reported that it was during this trip that the Gupta's controversial takeover of Optimum coal mine was finalised, and when Trillian Capital Partners was negotiating deals with Eskom. Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired around this time and replaced with Des Van Rooyen at the same time.

Moyane's spokesman, Sandile Mamela told Business Day:

"SARS is prohibited by its policies to divulge or discuss its employees and related matters between employee and employer in the public domain. Please note that the commissioner reserves his rights should personal information pertaining to him be used for public consumption."