Kenny Kunene accused of tax dodging

2013-07-28 14:00

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EFF’s flamboyant member says its political.

Businessman-turned-politician Kenny Kunene has been slapped with a R750?000 tax bill because he hasn’t submitted any personal tax returns since 2010.

And this may just be the tip of his tax iceberg as the receiver of revenue is also after him for failing to submit his business returns.

Now, according to an insider, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is after him for unpaid company tax but is now unsure of what to do, lest the agency be seen to be punishing him for renouncing the ANC and joining Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, which was launched yesterday.

“You see, Sars wants to pursue him for failing to submit returns for his businesses, but they are reluctant to do so because this will give credence to claims that the ruling party is using state resources to settle political scores, because Kenny left the ANC to join the EFF,” the insider said.

One source said the tax bill followed a lifestyle audit, which Sars conducted on him in 2011. He was ordered to pay up last year and has been doing so in monthly instalments.

This week, Kunene confirmed he was slapped with a R750?000 tax bill, but also accused Sars of being used by the ANC to settle political scores.

“Sars did a lifestyle audit on me from 2010 to 2012 after my public spat with Zwelinzima Vavi. We had an agreement last year on how I’m going to pay them,” he said.

Vavi publicly slammed Kunene’s sushi parties, where he ate off the bodies of half-naked women, saying he was “spitting in the face of the poor”.

Kunene hit back, saying Vavi should “go hang himself or go to hell”.

This week, Kunene said: “It is interesting Sars is communicating with me through newspapers more than two years after I agreed with them that I will pay.”

He further said it was “interesting” that questions were raised about his tax affairs in the same week, he claimed, in which a senior EFF member, whose name is known to City Press, was “served with papers stating that a lifestyle audit will be conducted on him”.

He said, fuming: “This validates what I said in my open letter to President Jacob Zuma that the ruling party is using state organs to settle political scores. Our will and determination to emancipate our people from economic hardship will never by weakened by corrupt individuals.”

But Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay dismissed Kunene’s accusation that they were being used to settle political scores as “opportunistic fiction”.

Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) records show that Kunene is

the director of 19 companies, including several mining and entertainment firms.

Another source said Kunene was initially slapped with a R10?million personal tax bill but this was reduced after his lawyers challenged it.

“They agreed not to add 200% interest and 50% penalties because he cooperated,” he said.

The insider said Sars officials also imposed a hefty tax bill on ZAR nightclub, which closed last year.

But Kunene has washed his hands of the bill, saying that, contrary to public opinion, he was not a co-owner of the club. He claimed his former business partner, Gayton McKenzie, was the sole director.

Lackay couldn’t confirm or deny that Kunene was handed the R750?000 tax bill, or that a lifestyle audit would be conducted on the senior EFF official.

“Sars cannot comment publicly on the affairs of any taxpayer, regardless of whether it is a business, a trust or an individual,” he said.

According to Lackay, the ANC could not use Sars as a weapon against political foes because “no external involvement is allowed in the affairs of taxpayers, particularly when tax disputes arise between a taxpayer and Sars”.

He said: “This is necessary to ensure that the integrity of this institution and its processes are protected.

“Any allegation to the contrary and any notion of ‘political interference’ must be rejected as opportunistic fiction.”

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