Tax raid on high-fliers

2011-06-02 00:00

FLASHY multi-millionaire couple Sibusiso Mpisane and Shaun Mkhize were not at home to entertain some unwelcome guests in typical lavish fashion yesterday, when members of the SA Revenue Service (SARS) and the Hawks swooped on their La Lucia house and business in an elaborate raid.

Authorities were tight-lipped about details of the raid as a large media contingent gathered outside the R15 million mansion in Addison Drive, La Lucia, and passers-by slowed down to rubberneck.

Although the whereabouts of the couple are unconfirmed, sources close to them say the two are holidaying on the party island of Ibiza in Spain.

The former Durban Metro police officer and his wife are best known for their fleet of expensive cars — including a Rolls Royce Phantom and Lamborghinis — and the lavish parties that celebrities and politicians flocked to.

SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay said authorities had a search-and-seizure warrant and the raid was part of an ongoing tax-related investigation.

This being the first day of the raid, it is understood that authorities are scanning computers in the house for irregularities as well as making an inventory of the couple’s assets for possible seizure.

In March last year SARS seized three vehicles worth nearly R17 million belonging to the couple to cover unpaid taxes.

SARS took possession their Rolls Royce Phantom convertible — valued at about R7 million — and two Lamborghinis valued at about R4,5 million and R5 million

The Mpisanes threw a lavish party on New Year’s Eve, which was attended by national Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele and several celebrities.

The couple voluntarily handed over some of their moveable assets last year as surety and pledged to pay SARS over a few months.

In 2009 it was reported that the couple had received R219 million from the eThekwini Municipality to build low-income houses on 4 500 sites in Umlazi.

The National Home Builders’ Registration Council found defects in more than 1 000 of the 3 000 houses built by Zikhulise Cleaning and Transport, owned by the Mpisanes.

Of the defects, 30% were serious and would require major renovations.

The spokesperson for the Hawks, McIntosh Polela, declined to comment, saying the raid was SARS’ domain and that the Hawks merely assisted.

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