Johannesburg - The chief financial officer of the Financial Services Board (FSB) resigned a week after The Star questioned him about allegations that he demanded millions of rand in bribes.
Africa Cash and Carry chief executive Edrees Ahmed Hathurani allegedly paid FSB chief financial officer Dawood Seedat R12 million after Seedat allegedly threatened to close down Africa Cash and Carry through an SA Revenue Service (Sars) audit.
The Star put these allegations to Seedat two weeks ago. He denied all the allegations.
Last Friday, the FSB sent out a press release saying Seedat had resigned following “corruption allegations that have been levelled against him in his personal capacity”.
“As an institution with a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption, the FSB is looking into these allegations to assess whether or not they have had any impact on his employment relationship.”
The DA intends taking the matter to Parliament.
“Mr Seedat’s sudden resignation following corruption allegations levelled against him in his ‘personal capacity’ is cause for serious concern and calls for clarity,” said DA finance spokesman Deon George.
He said the FSB, which oversees the non-banking financial services industry, “performs a crucial governance function over trillions of rand that belong to millions of hard-working South Africans”
Hathurani said in an affidavit, which The Star has seen, that he was contacted last June by a man called Mohammed Moosa, who wanted to meet him urgently because he was “in serious trouble”.
Moosa told him that a man called Dawood Seedat was investigating him and that Seedat had been responsible for Hathurani’s last Sars assessment – for more than R200m.
Seedat allegedly told Moosa the FSB was working with Sars to close down Hathurani’s business, the affidavit states.
Moosa then told Hathurani that Seedat could resolve the matter amicably.
Hathurani said he first met Seedat at a restaurant in Fordsburg, Joburg, called Calistos with Moosa, when Seedat allegedly said he would use the FSB and Sars to close down his business and confiscate his assets.
“He had documentation in his possession which appeared to originate from Sars… He also displayed to me a search and seizure warrant that appeared to belong to Sars.
“I was petrified and could not think straight. I panicked and asked him what he wanted,” Hathurani’s affidavit said.
“He explained that I would need to pay them and take care of them in order to fix the matter. He stated that the current Sars business assessment would collapse and that the assessment was in any event factually and fatally flawed,” the affidavit said.
Hathurani said he was told to pay R12m to a Sars consultant. The affidavit names two people who work for Sars who Seedat allegedly said would help.
Hathurani said he found that Seedat was the FSB chief financial officer, a specialist consultant for Sars and had worked for the National Prosecuting Authority.
“I was overcome by a sense of hopelessness as I had sufficient problems of my own, and agreed to their request for a money payment,” he said in the affidavit.
Several payments were made between June and November last year.
“Most of the payments were collected from me at my business by Mohammed Moosa and in turn given to Dawood Seedat,” Hathurani said.
Seedat always called to confirm that he had received the money.
Hathurani said the last R5m had been collected by Seedat personally on three occasions, and each payment was made at a mosque in Midrand.
Hathurani said he recorded the last two payments with audio and video, and the money was delivered by his son and friend.
The Star saw a video which allegedly shows Seedat accepting two boxes, one with R1.5m inside and another with R500 000. Hathurani said in the affidavit he demanded Seedat return his R12m.
Contacted for comment, Seedat referred The Star to his attorney, Darryl Ackerman, who denied the accusations.
“The allegations of misconduct levelled against our client are vexatious, spurious, without substance and are denied. The sources of the allegations against our client are under investigation and are using our client as an unwitting pawn to divert attention from themselves,” said Ackerman.
He said his client was not prepared to become involved in a matter that is sub judice.
FSB chief executive Dube Tshidi said they would not be in a position to comment on the allegations against Seedat.
“The FSB has neither the powers not the infrastructure to investigate allegations made against its employees that do not pertain to the employee’s employment with the FSB,” Tshidi said.
He said Sars and the FSB were independent institutions and the FSB has no “dealings” with Sars regarding company audits or any of Sars’s statutory duties.
Sars spokeswoman Marika Muller would not say if there was any Sars audit against Africa Cash and Carry because of taxpayer confidentiality. She said Seedat once worked for Sars, but left in 2005.
She urged anyone with evidence to come forward so that Sars could investigate.
“Sars also wants to warn taxpayers that any approach by self-proclaimed intermediaries claiming they can ‘fix’ tax problems by bribing Sars officials are attempted fraud and corruption. Sars will take action against both the fraudsters and the taxpayers who participate in such criminal activities.”