‘I bust finance chief on video’
The chief financial officer of the Financial Services Board resigned a week after he was questioned about allegations that he demanded millions of rand in bribes.
Africa Cash and Carry chief executive Edrees Ahmed Hathurani allegedly paid FSB chief executive Dawood Seedat R12 million after Seedat allegedly threatened to close down Africa Cash and Carry through a Sars audit.
Cape Times sister newspaper The Star put these allegations to Seedat two weeks ago. He denied all the allegations.
Last Friday the FSB issued a press release saying Seedat had resigned following corruption allegations “levelled against him in his personal capacity”. It read: “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 rands that belong to millions of hard-working South Africans”.
Hathurani said in an affidavit that he was contacted last June by a man, Mohammed Moosa, who wanted to meet him urgently because he was “in serious trouble”. Moosa told him a man called Dawood Seedat was investigating him and 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 Hathurani’s business. Moosa told Hathurani Seedat could resolve the matter amicably.
Hathurani said he met Seedat at Calistos restaurant in Fordsburg, with Moosa, where Seedat allegedly said he would use the FSB and Sars to close 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.”
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 Seedat was FSB chief executive, a specialist consultant for Sars and had worked for the NPA. “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,” Hathurani said.
Several payments were made between June and November. “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 the mosque.
Hathurani said he recorded the last two payments with audio and video and the money was delivered by his son and friend. The video appears to show Seedat accepting two boxes, one allegedly containing R1.5m, another with R500 000. Hathurani said he demanded Seedat return his R12m. Contacted for comment, Seedat referred 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 executive officer Dube Tshidi said: “The FSB has neither the powers nor 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 two independent institutions and the FSB had no “dealings” with Sars regarding company audits or any of Sars’s statutory duties.
Sars spokeswoman Marika Muller would not say if there was a Sars audit against Africa Cash and Carry because of taxpayer confidentiality. Muller urged anyone with evidence to come forward.