‘False tax clearance certificate used to secure lucrative contract’

2014-09-11 17:04

A tax clearance certificate of a security company that was hired by the Mpumalanga safety and security department was found by Sars to be invalid.

Hawks member Warrant Officer Phumlani Zuma today told the Nelspruit Regional Court that a South African Revenue Service (Sars) official promised that there would be an internal investigation about the issuing of the tax clearance certificate to GNT Security.

GNT security owner, Stevens Mashaba, and former provincial safety and security head, Thulani Sibuyi, are on trial for fraud after Mashaba’s company was awarded a three-year contract about two years ago.

When cross-examined, Zuma admitted that he had written a statement where he said the GNT tax clearance certificate looked valid.

“The certificate looked valid at face value. I sent it to Sars and a month or so later an official said the certificate was not valid,” he said.

Zuma said provincial Hawks commander, General Simon Mapiane, asked for all documents about the contracts that Sibuyi’s department awarded to 18 companies after complaints were received from the Presidential Hotline.

The contracts caused an outcry because the security services costs suddenly increased from R990 million over three years to about R7 billion, and the department had to be bailed out following the exhaustion of its funds.

The prosecutor, Advocate Patrick Nkuna, also called Robert Dlamini – a former manager in the finance unit of safety and security – who was excused because Nkuna wanted to cross-examine him on a bid adjudication committee report he did not compile.

Dlamini said his job in the committee was to take minutes only and the report was compiled by committee chairperson, Dr David Dlamini. Nkuna said he could not trace Dr Dlamini to testify.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert postponed the case to February 4-6 next year for two Sars officials to testify. The two witnesses were not available this week because one had an operation and the other one had resigned from Sars.

Sibuyi and Mashaba are out on R50 000 bail each.

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