080310 The new offices of SARS at corner Rissik street and Albert street. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba

A man who attempted to bribe a SA Revenue Service (Sars) official has been jailed for 15 years by the Germiston Regional Court, Sars said on Wednesday.

Humphrey Ngundwe was sentenced to 10 years for corruption and five years for intimidation, to be served consecutively for a total of 15 years.

He is in custody, pending an appeal.

Ngundwe first ran foul of the law in 2008 when he attempted to claim R400,000 in fraudulent VAT refunds.

The claim was flagged during a Sars VAT screening process and a Sars staff member requested additional documentation.

Ngundwe offered the staff member a R20,000 bribe.

The staff member reported the offer to the Sars Anti-Corruption and Security division who, with the National Prosecuting Authority, set up a sting operation.

The staff member, under the instructions of the authorities, met Ngundwe and accepted the bribe resulting in the latter's arrest for corruption, said Sars in the statement.

Ngundwe was released on bail after a court appearance.

However, as soon as he was released, Ngundwe began telephoning the Sars staff member and demanding his fraudulent refund as well as the R20,000 bribe he paid in the sting.

He threatened to kill the staff member if he was not paid the money he demanded.

Ngundwe was re-arrested and this time charged with intimidation.

Sars said its staffer was given physical protection and moved to another office for the duration of Ngundwe's trial, due to concerns for his safety. - Sapa