North West firm’s tax bill saga

2012-05-05 10:27

Lawyers representing one of the directors of a company from which the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is demanding R136 million have pointed out that it was their client who alerted the taxman to the suspicious dealings.

City Press reported last week that Sars was demanding the money from North West construction company Peolwane, co-owned by Reggie Kukama and Lambert Lobelo, after the revenue services parastatal paid R22.7 million and a further R39 million into a third-party account, of which Lobelo was a director and public officer.

A public officer is the only person entitled to make submissions on behalf of the company to Sars. The officer must, however, have the board’s mandate to do so.

Lawyers representing Kukama pointed out that it was their client, not Sars, who first suspected something was amiss and informed revenue services of his suspicions.

This was after one of its directors, Lobelo, allegedly hired a tax consultancy to submit invoices that resulted in Sars paying the sums it paid. Sars is now investigating a criminal offence related to the invoices and rebates paid.

Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay confirmed that Kukama was the whistle-blower. “I can confirm that Kukama reported the alleged VAT fraud to Sars in August 2011.”

The South Gauteng High Court has since declared Lobelo a “delinquent director”. Kukama had made the application. Lobelo has applied for leave to appeal the decision.

Lobelo has told City Press that he will comment after the finalisation of the Sars probe, and a forensic audit ordered by him and Kukama.

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