A South African Revenue Service (SARS) lawyer has defended Commissioner Tom Moyane on allegations that he allowed a R70-million VAT refund to the Guptas.

Moyane allegedly put pressure on SARS officials to pay the money into the account of a third party for the benefit of Gupta company Oakbay and affiliated companies.

Some have alleged that the payment was illegal because it did not go to a registered VAT vendor.

SARS Legal Specialist Eric Smith says this is unfounded.

Smith says Moyane did not make a refund into any account to which the refund was not entitled to go: “SARS followed due process, and the allegations of impropriety regarding this refund have no basis. There was no issue relating to the actual payment of the Vat refund that was due and payable.”

“It was just a technical aspect as to how it can be paid.”