Senior SARS employee involved with Zuma family-linked company

Johannesburg - A senior SARS investigator who leads an “undercover” probe into the so-called rogue unit is himself linked to underworld figure and Zuma family associate Jen-Chih “Robert” Huang.

News24 can reveal that Yegan Mundie, a senior South African Revenue Service (SARS) investigator, is linked to the South African-based Taiwanese businessman (Huang) through his wife, who was employed by Huang’s Mpisi Trading 74 while SARS was investigating the company.

Huang is a business partner of President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse, and has used Zuma’s legal advisor and lawyer, Michael Hulley, to defend him in cases brought against him by SARS.

Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan has now opened a case of corruption against Mundie, his wife Diane and Chetty Vengas, a director of Mpisi Trading and former disgraced SARS employee.

'Undercover' task team

News24 revealed the existence of an “undercover” task team in SARS earlier this week. According to six inside sources, the unit is tasked with digging up dirt on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and former SARS employees linked to the National Research Group (NRG) investigations unit dubbed the “rogue unit”.

SARS has denied the existence of the unit and said the officials mentioned by News24, including Mundie, “are all members of a SARS internal investigations team tasked with investigating tax related offenses and misconduct by internal employees as per SARS mandate”. According to News24’s sources, the unit is led by Mundie and senior KwaZulu-Natal SARS employee Gobi Makhanya.

O’Sullivan opened the case of corruption at the Bedfordview police office this week and sent affidavits detailing his allegations against Mundie to the Hawks and SARS.

In an affidavit by a panel beater who owns a business in La Rochelle, south of Johannesburg, it is alleged that Vengas was requesting quotes to fix Yegan Mundie’s BMW 3-series car which had been involved in an accident early in 2013.

The Mail & Guardian previously reported that Chetty received bribes whilst working for SARS and was slapped with a correctional supervision sentence for corruption in 2003.

In an email attached to the affidavit with the subject line “Quote for Mundie”, “Chetty” asks the panel beater for a second quote for the car.

The panel beater said that they never carried out the work on the car.

In a separate affidavit O’Sullivan reveals that Diane Mundie worked for Mpisi Trading at a warehouse in City Deep.

O’Sullivan alleges that Mundie was part of a SARS team in charge of investigating Mpisi Trading.

A separate independent source confirmed to News24 that SARS, under the anti-corruption and security unit, conducted an investigation into Mpisi Trading, a unit under which Mundie fell.

Affidavit

“Although no work was carried out in respect of the quotation it is clear that Huang’s co-director of Mpisi, Chetty, was seeking a quotation for repairs to a car owned by a senior investigator at SARS, whom was supposed to be investigating serious crimes of Mpisi,” O’Sullivan’s affidavit states.

In an email to SARS, the Hawks and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), O’Sullivan requests that a thorough investigation be undertaken into the allegations against Mundie.

“I feel a public statement on SARS’s position viz the investigations (or lack thereof) into the Mpisi customs and tax fraud, may help clear the air. Especially if such public statement sets out what will be done about the relationship between Mr Mundie and Huang / Mpisi,” O’Sulllivan said.

The investigator said he had copied IPID in the email because he was concerned the case would be squashed after he received a call from a Colonel at Bedfordview police officer who told him that as a civilian he was not allowed to open a corruption case against state employees, and there was not sufficient evidence in the docket to open a case.

The Mpisi group is no stranger to controversy. According to Netwerk24, Mpisi, Robert Huang and his wife were at the centre of an investigation worth over a billion rand by SARS.

Mpisi Trading 74, a clearing agent, was involved in importing almost 20 000 ANC T-shirts shortly before the national election in 2014. The T-shirts were confiscated by SARS pending the payment of customs duties and Huang solicited Hulley's services to negotiate with SARS for the release of the T-shirts.

Khulubuse Zuma and Huang have had close business ties in the past, according to the Mail & Guardian. Khulubuse was, among other things, the unofficial chair of Mpisi.

No comment

Mundie and Diane both indicated they were not interested in hearing what the allegations were against them and refused to comment.

Vengas also refused to comment.

SARS defended Mundie saying he was not involved in the tax affairs of Mpisi Trading.

“Upon joining SARS in 2008, Mr Mundie informed his management of his relationship with Mpisi Trading and as such a decision was taken not to expose Mr Mundie to any of the tax affairs of the taxpayer, as per SARS policy.”

However, the tax body then indicated that they had not been aware that Diane had worked at Mpisi.

“SARS was not aware of Mr Mundie’s wife working at Mpisi Trading but has been informed that her working relationship with Mpisi Trading ended more than two years ago.”

SARS said that Mundie confirmed to them that at the time of his wife’s employment at Mpisi Trading, a vehicle owned by Mpisi Trading collided with the vehicle his wife was using. 

“As such Mpisi Trading took liability and responsibility for the repair of the vehicle. According to Mr Mundie, an accident report was filed at the Bedfordview Police Station.”

SARS said they were not aware of any corruption charges laid against Mundie, but would co-operate with any investigation launched by any law enforcement agency.

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