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Media statement on SHL Wholesalers Tax Case in Court

Media statement on SHL Wholesalers Tax Case in Court

7 June 2024 — The South African Revenue Service (SARS) confirms that the Gauteng South Regional Division sentenced Suhayle Ballim, the sole member of SHL Wholesalers CC (SHL) to 15 years’ direct imprisonment for defrauding the organisation. Ballim was accused of purportedly exporting goods from the Republic of South Africa to other African countries (ghost exports), which resulted in him and SHL claiming undue Value-Added Tax (VAT). The case took 14 years to finalise in court due to delays caused by Ballim as pointed out by the presiding magistrate.

Ballim and SHL submitted false VAT 201 returns for 39 VAT periods from February 2004 until April 2007, wherein outputs of the declared goods that were purportedly sold to clients in Mozambique and Zimbabwe resulted in a zero-rated supply, which, in turn, resulted in fraudulent VAT refunds totaling R15 607 587.86 being paid by SARS.

The investigation, led by the SARS Criminal Investigation Unit, included search and seizure operations, which were conducted on the business premises and private residence of SHL and Ballim respectively, where false export documents, invoices, delivery notes, road manifests and export bills of entry (DA550) were discovered. Ballim used the proceeds from the fraudulent refunds to maintain his lifestyle as the sole signatory on the banking account of SHL.

SARS Commissioner, Mr Edward Kieswetter, thanked SARS and other law enforcement agencies, including the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Police Service for their dedication to ensuring that Ballim and SHL were prosecuted for their actions. He said, “The message is loud and clear that SARS will not rest nor tolerate those who indulge in criminality and deprive the country’s fiscus of what is due to it. Taxpayers who live lavish lifestyles, beyond honest means, by stealing from the most vulnerable in society must face the consequences; SARS will make it hard and costly for those who engage in criminality”.

For further information, please contact SARS at [email protected].

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