Three men, accused of fraudulently claiming Value Added Tax refunds to the value of approximately R300 million, were sentenced in the Gauteng South High Court on Wednesday, 16 August 2017 to a total of 95 years imprisonment – 25 years for Fraud, 25 years for Uttering, 25 years for Forgery and 20 years for Money Laundering. The sentences will run concurrently. This means that each of the accused will spend 25 years in prison.
The VAT fraud, as well as other criminal activity, took place under the pretext that electronic equipment was being imported from the United States of America and then exported again. This practice was used in 18 different companies, where the accused were directors, to elicit approximately R300 million in VAT refunds from the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
The accused, Mr Anton Meyer, Mr Garth Coetser and Mr Clifford Stevens, were charged with fraud and contravening section 59 of the Value Added Tax Act No. 89 of 1991. The accused were successfully indicted on several counts of fraud, forgery, uttering and money laundering in terms of section 4 (b) (i) of Act 121 of 1998.
This successful prosecution clearly demonstrates that SARS has the skills, experience and determination to effectively detect non-compliance by taxpayers and ensure such perpetrators face the full might of the law. It should serve as a strong warning to anyone that attempts to avoid their tax obligations through irregular means that they will be dealt with accordingly and with the full might of the law.
With this in mind, SARS wishes to assert that the organisation remains resolute, focused and single-minded in ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax.