Tax Evasion: Former SARS auditors now arrested for R321m fraud

The Hawks investigation uncovered a tax evasion syndicate of tax payers, runners, SARS current and former employees and bank staff.

Tax Evasion: Former SARS auditors now arrested for R321m fraud

The Johannesburg Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team has arrested two former South African Revenue Service (SARS) auditors who are facing tax evasion charges amounting to hundreds of millions of rands. 

The former SARS auditors, Corah Madlepollo Kooko, 39, and Noluthando Sipokazi Mbanga, 45, and a runner, Mndolozi Mncube, 44, appeared in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday, facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of approximately R321 million.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha said that the two former auditors and runner had been charged for tax fraud in contravention of the Value Added Tax Act, as well as the Customs and Excise Act for an actual financial loss to SARS of more than R277 million. He said a further loss of R44 million had already discovered and recovered through a police investigation into the tax evasion in conjunction with SARS. 

“During the period between 2013 and 2016, SARS investigators identified extensive VAT fraud with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) sectors registered as VAT merchants,” he said.

“The fraud related to the claiming of undue VAT refunds from SARS, money laundering pertaining to these companies and their directors working in cahoots.”

Wide network involved in tax evasion fraud

He said that the Hawks investigation had uncovered that the tax evasion syndicate involved more than twenty individuals and various companies. “Tax payers, runners, SARS current and former employees, as well as bank employees were also caught up in the web of deceit,” he said.

“Most of the fraudulent invoices were uploaded from the SARS branch in Randfontein where some of the implicated suspects were based,” he added.

“The trio and runner were granted  R10 000 bail each and the case was postponed to 13 July 2021 pending further investigation, while the Hawks circle for the rest of the suspects,” Ramovha said.

Source : The South African More   

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State Capture: Lucky Montana wants evidence leader to recuse himself

Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana faced some grilling over his property purchases which total R36 million

State Capture: Lucky Montana wants evidence leader to recuse himself

The former Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prasa, Lucky Montana has demanded that the evidence leader of the State Capture Commission, advocate Vas Soni, recuse himself from proceedings.

Soni has been cross-examining Montana in relation to his controversial tenure at the rail agency, as well as allegations that he used R36 million of its funds to  purchase properties around Gauteng with lawyer Riaan van der Walt.

Montana’s questionable property purchases in lush suburbs have faced immense scrutiny, even outside of the commission and he has denied there was anything dubious behind them.

Lucky Montana claims Vas Soni is biased

Advocate Soni grilled Montana about his business relationship with Van der Walt, the director of a company called Precise Trade. He also had links to Siyangena Technologies, a company which irregularly scored billions worth of contracts with Prasa. Both Montana and Van der Walt have enjoyed a rather profitable relationship, to say the least.

“Soni should recuse himself. He is showing signs of being biased. It is not in the interest of justice to continue like this. This narrative that Siyangena was given R4 million in contracts. The allegations were that it, for sure, made payments towards my properties through TTM Holdings,” Montana said.

“There is no Siyangena in any of the properties I have invested in. He is conflicted. He is so emotionally invested and passionate about this, because if I was not here, we were going to move from the basis that TTM paid Precise Trade. TTM did not pay Precise Trade”

Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana

It is alleged Montana used a shell company named Trade and Invest to purchase the houses through Van der Walt who has since left the country.

This isn’t the first time Montana has taken issue with Soni, having told the commission back in April that he is conflicted, having done work for Werksmans Attorneys.

The Johannesburg-based firm was conducted a series of forensic investigations into suspicious contracts awarded by Prasa. Montana, who headed Prasa from 2010 until 2015, is accused of abusing his power at the entity and awarding lucrative contracts to some of his associates.

Source : The South African More   

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