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Double trouble for tax fraud accused

Cape town - A registered tax practitioner in court for allegedly defrauding the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is fighting to be released from custody after she was accused of breaching her bail conditions.

Heidi Jasmine Williams appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after she was arrested on Monday for allegedly committing the same offence that landed her in court in the first place. The State brought an application to have her R25 000 bail cancelled.

Heidi Jasmine Williams, right, and her husband, Daouda Cisse, left, with Larissa Smuts. Photo: Jason Boud. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

Williams was out on bail in a matter in which she and her husband are accused of defrauding Sars of about R1 million through inflated medical claims for clients.

Williams and her husband, Daudu Cisse, were arrested on November 22 on charges of tax-related crimes and both were released on R25 000 bail.

The State alleged that the couple had submitted income tax returns for about 1 700 taxpayers via e-filling. Between October 2012 and February 2013, they had generated R981 600 from the fees they charged.

They used fraudulent medical expenses to obtain tax refunds for the taxpayers, according to the State.

Their clients included officials of Parliament, officials from different government departments, members of the police and private firms, and factory workers.

According to their bail conditions, they could not submit fraudulent tax returns. They were to appear in connection with the main trial on September 19.

Standing in the dock on Tuesday, Williams appeared without her husband. The State said she had contravened her bail conditions by submitting medical aid claims to Sars on behalf of clients who said they had no medical aid or were not aware of the submissions.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, James Trichardt, a Sars investigator in the criminal investigations department, said although he was not the official investigator in the matter, he was tasked to look into the tax returns of eight people.

In affidavits the eight taxpayers said they were assisted by Williams, who submitted their e-filing tax returns. Trichardt said Williams had submitted “fictitious” medical documents which had resulted in refunds.

Defence attorney Vuyani Peter, in turn, claimed the taxpayers were trying anything to avoid prosecution.

The matter is set to continue on Wednesday.

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