Politics behind Malema’s new tax woes – lawyer

2015-04-13 13:43

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The collapse of an agreement EFF leader Julius Malema reached with Sars to settle his tax bill, and its bid to sequestrate him, is politically motivated, says his lawyer.

“It is quite clear that Sars, after they had made the compromise agreement with Mr Malema, something changed in Sars and there is a new move to sequestrate him for the sake of it. It has everything to do with politics,” said Tumi Mokoena today.

He said Malema would challenge the SA Revenue Service’s bid to sequestrate him. If he is sequestrated he will lose his seat in Parliament.

Mokoena said Malema’s initial tax bill of R16 million was reduced to R4 million, which was paid. This was due to tax returns he failed to pay between 2006 and 2010.

With the collapse of the agreement, Sars now wanted an additional R14 million in interest and penalties.

“There is no basis for them to levy that,” said Mokoena.

If Malema’s appeal against this failed they would take the matter to the Tax Court, said Mokoena.

Sars’ bid to get a provisional sequestration order against the Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on June 1.

“It’s an ongoing process of appeals. It will probably take years,” said Mokoena.

Explaining what he thought had changed at Sars that led to the sequestration bid, Mokoena referred to the romantic relationship between Sars official Johann van Loggerenberg, who had worked on Malema’s tax agreement, and lawyer Belinda Walter.

Van Loggerenberg was investigated and resigned in February after Walter reported to the police and Sars that he had disclosed confidential tax information to her. This is a crime under the Income Tax Act.

According to Mokoena, citing news reports from last year: “Van Loggerenberg… had sent WhatsApp messages to Belinda Walter, in which he stated that the powers that be are not happy with the compromise agreement.”

“It’s interesting that Mr Van Loggerenberg is no longer working for Sars [and] the interim commissioner [Ivan Pillay] was kicked out.”

Responding to a report that Sars was taking these new steps as Malema’s tax payments were from dubious sources, Mokoena said Sars knew where the money came from. In addition there was nothing in the agreement requiring Malema to disclose the source of the payments.

“Even if that was the case, they have been told who paid the monies. In the first place there’s a loan for one million that was paid into the curator’s account and the details of the payment appear there. They knew as early as May last year where that money came from.”

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