SARS hits gold refinery, home of director with search and seizure

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The South African Revenue Service has conducted search and seizure operations at the businesses and homes of individual taxpayers and employees in the banking and gold industry after "discrepancies" were identified in customs declarations and tax returns.

One of the businesses targeted by SARS is the gold refinery Bullion Star in Johannesburg.

SARS says the company submitted a VAT refund claim of R13.9 million after it exported unwrought gold worth more than R126 million in a single month, namely February this year. But prior to this, Bullion Star rarely exported any goods, SARS noted.

Bullion Star was selected for a tax audit and SARS received a search warrant for three of premises to obtain information about the goods it sold and exported.

"However, Bullion Star refused SARS access to its business premises and the vehicles on its premises. Security video footage revealed that goods were removed from the business premises and placed into vehicles on its premises, prior to SARS gaining access to the property," SARS said in a statement.

"Based on the risk that these goods may be crucial to SARS' investigation, with the assistance of the South African Police Service and the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks), SARS seized relevant evidence from the vehicles."

SARS was also refused access to the home of Bullion Star’s director. Again, the police assisted SARS to gain access and seize electronic equipment, believed to contain information vital to the investigation, at the house.

According to company records, Bullion Star’s sole director is Musarrat Khan Niyazi.

"Those persons that systematically and deliberately set out to deprive what is due to the fiscus through fraudulent and other non-compliant activities will be confronted and dealt with in terms of the law. This kind of conduct will be made hard and costly," SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter said in a statement.

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