Pensioner’s cut never reached taxman

2011-07-22 00:00

A FORMER deputy mayor and councillor of Hibiscus Coast Municipality, Lew Steyn, has alleged that the tax portion of his pension fund benefits was never paid to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) after his resignation in February 2008.

Steyn’s lawyer, Louis Hansmeyer, said the fund benefits were paid out in two separate portions to Steyn and to his ex-wife.

However, the taxable amount of about R98 867 was not paid to SARS.

The fund was administered by Akani Retirement Fund Administrators at the time of Steyn’s resignation.

It then became the responsibility of Absa in March 2008. However, both companies say they have no record of a tax payment made from Steyn’s pension fund.

Hansmeyer said his client discovered this only after he had submitted tax returns in 2010.

“It was established that the tax had never been paid over by the pension fund to SARS,” said Hansmeyer.

Numerous requests were made to officials at Municipal Councillors’ Pension Fund (MCPF) and to Akani Retirement Fund Administrators, but no satisfactory explanation could be given, he added.

MCPF oversees pension funds for municipal workers.

“The matter was never queried and it was taken for granted that the fund had paid the taxes, but SARS has confirmed that no payment was received from the fund,” said Hansmeyer.

He said his firm has dealt with the acting principal officer of MCPF, Zethu Sibisi, since May this year. However, Sibisi could no longer be reached.

The Witness also made numerous attempts to contact Sibisi, unsuccessfully.

Upon investigation it was established that at the time of Steyn’s resignation the acting principal of the MCPF was Joshua Mamaregane.

Asked about the matter, Mamaregane said he was no longer with the MCPF and knew nothing about Steyn’s situation.

“I can only confirm that Akani was responsible for the administration of Hibiscus Coast Municipality in 2008.”

Mamaregane said all documents were given to Absa when it took over the administration.

Renado Campbell, employee benefits administrator at Absa, challenged Mamaregane’s statement, saying Absa has no records of an amount being paid to SARS on Steyn’s behalf.

The MCPF appointed Samantha Jagdessi as a new principal officer in March 2011.

Jagdessi said it is the first she has heard of such a complaint.

“I don’t have access to records prior to the date on which I was appointed,” she said.

She said she would investigate the matter.

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