Couple in court over alleged R51m VAT scam

Cape Town – Businesses scamming South Africa’s tax authority were sent a warning on Tuesday, after two people appeared in court for allegedly defrauding the national fiscus of about R51m.

Married couple Fazel and Amina Karodia appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court on Tuesday for their alleged involvement in a sophisticated multi-million rand fraudulent value-added tax (VAT) refund scam, according to SA Revenue Service (Sars) spokesperson Sandile Memela.

They were released on bail of R75 000 and R25 000 respectively and the case has been postponed to 20 January 2016, he said.

“The suspected loss to the fiscus amounts to approximately R51m,” said Memela, adding that more arrests are pending.

He told Fin24 that the arrests form part of a six-month investigation into 40 random high-risk individuals and companies, which “Sars was paying special attention to”.

“They don’t pay tax and then claim on VAT,” said Memela. “They are winning twice!”

His warning to fraudsters is: “You are going to be found out. If you don’t pay your taxes, you will head off to … (jail).”

Memela said Sars is focusing on 18 of the 40 cases, with most showing defrauded amounts ranging from between R500 000 and R20m.

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