Sars prolonging Malema tax issue for political reasons – lawyer

2015-03-16 14:52

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The provisional sequestration order against Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema regarding his outstanding tax bill will be argued in the North Gauteng High Court in June.

Judge Ferdi Preller ruled in the same court today that the matter be extended to June 1 and that costs would be reserved.

Nic Maritz, SC, for the South African Revenue Service, told the court that moving the matter till June would give Sars and Malema time to file all the necessary court papers.

Speaking to the media outside court, Malema’s attorney, Tumi Mokoena, said Sars handed in an affidavit to say Malema had not complied with an agreement.

But, he said, in terms of an agreement with Sars, Malema had paid the amount.

“Which is surprising because they have received the full payments. They have raised issues which we think do not matter,” he said after the brief proceedings.

“We just think this is an attempt by Sars to prolong the matter for political reasons. We believe that the agreement should have been confirmed and that there should not be a need for us to come to court again.”

He said the matter should be scrapped because Malema had fully complied with the agreement made with Sars.

Sars spokesperson Marika Muller said the revenue service was legally obliged to protect taxpayers’ information.

“With this in mind, Sars will not make further comment on this matter,” she said.

In August, Malema denied media reports that alleged cigarette smuggler Adriano Mazzotti was helping him pay his tax bill.

At the time, there were reports that Sars was investigating the source of his tax debt repayments, but the tax authority would not comment at the time.

In February last year, Judge Bill Prinsloo ordered that Malema’s estate be provisionally sequestrated. In May, and again in August, his provisional sequestration was extended and the matter was postponed.

Malema previously admitted he had not attended to his tax affairs the way the law required.

According to court papers, Malema owed Sars R16 million, plus interest, after failing to submit tax returns between 2006 and 2010.

In 2010, Sars contacted Malema about his failure to submit tax returns. It took Malema 18 months, after many attempts by Sars, to file his outstanding returns.

Malema had also failed to register his Ratanang Family Trust for tax purposes, and Sars had to do this on his behalf. Ratanang is the name of Malema’s young son.

Sars attached some of Malema’s property, including a farm in Limpopo and a house still under construction in Johannesburg, to recoup some of the taxes he owed.

A final sequestration order could affect Malema’s political career, as he would no longer be allowed to serve as an MP.

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