Bloemfontein - A couple and their son from the upmarket Woodland Hills estate in Bloemfontein, have appeared in court on 135 charges of VAT fraud involving R59m.
It is the largest amount in a single probe by the criminal investigation unit of the SA Revenue Service in the Free State and the Northern Cape, Netwerk24 reported.
Norman Delport, 65, his 58-year-old wife Johanna and their son, Marius, 36, were granted bail of R50 000 each when they appeared in the Bloemfontein Regional Court.
A company, Two Ships Trading 373, with Norman Delport as sole director, was also charged.
An alternative charge is that of statutory contravention of the VAT law.
Marius Delport said in his bail application that he is a chartered accountant who now farms with chickens.
He supplies Spar, Shoprite Checkers and Woolworths with about 80 000 slaughtered chickens a month.
He is responsible for the business’s finances and his parents have nothing to do with the filing of returns to Sars.
His father, in his application, said he was an ex-policeman who started farming near Bloemfontein in 2010. His wife is a home maker.
According to the indictment, the couple are both trustees of the Delport Family Trust and the Eden Rock Trust. Both trusts are registered for VAT for farming purposes.
The Delport Family Trust allegedly padded VAT claims by R15m between 2011 and 2014. The amount for the Eden Rock Trust from 2011 to 2015 is said to total R21m and VAT claimed unlawfully by Two Ships Trading from 2008 to 2012 involved R23.5m, according to the indictment.
Johnny Higgs, a specialist Sars investigator in Kimberley who is in charge of the probe, said the Delport businesses would have had to have shown a loss of about R485m between 2008 and 2012 to claim R59m in VAT from Sars.
Higgs testified that it appeared that R45m were transferred to a company MN Chemicals, in which Norman Delport is involved.
The case has been referred to the High Court.