Tshwane 24 February 2022 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has noted with concern the arrest of two SARS employees on allegations of extortion after the two employees demanded money from a taxpayer in return for reducing or cancelling the taxpayer’s debt.
The taxpayer alleges he received a call from a SARS employee last week and was invited to a meeting. After arriving the taxpayer grew suspicious and contacted the South African Police Service (SAPS), who subsequently planned a sting operation with the taxpayer, leading to the arrest of the two employees. In collaboration with the SARS Anti-Corruption Unit, the matter was handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks).
SARS Commissioner Mr Edward Kieswetter condemned in the strongest terms the alleged conduct of the employees and issued a strong warning to employees and taxpayers who collude to defraud SARS.
“While I do not want to prejudge the issue, if it is true that our employees deliberately and intentionally set out to extort money from the taxpayer, then their conduct does not reflect the SARS values.
“Any such corrupt criminal act betrays the hard work of over 12 000 employees, whose commitment and passion to serving all taxpayers and traders is well documented. It is a blot against SARS values of honesty, integrity and serving the well-being of all South Africans, which is our Higher Purpose.”
These employees will immediately be suspended and the matter dealt with speedily. SARS will work within the law to avoid a long, drawn-out process, where the employees receive their salaries for an extended period.
Since 2019, 15 individuals including 7 employees have been arrested for some form of collusive and corrupt behavior related to tax and customs administration. During this period 13 individuals have also been successfully convicted for these crimes. Furthermore, since 2019, as a result of disciplinary actions against employees, 57 individuals have been dismissed and 60 resigned. Their departure from SARS does not rule out further consideration of criminal charges. A number of additional investigations are underway.
SARS will not tolerate any form of corruption that undermines the trust of South Africans in the institution, Mr Kieswetter said.
For further information, please contact [email protected]
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