Two men who posed as officials from the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and defrauded a businesswoman out of R250,000 for failing to submit her tax returns have been handed a fine of R100,000 each or three years jail time.
Rendani Ramaligela, 43, and Ndivhuwo Ramudumela, 41, were convicted in the Giyani Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Friday.
According to the spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (known as Hawks) Lieutenant Colonel Matimba Maluleke the incident took place in October 2018.
“On October 24, 2018, Ramagalela and Ramudumela visited the victim who is a successful businesswoman at her Vuwani home.
“The accused introduced themselves to the victim as SARS officials.
“Since they were dressed in SARS-looking uniform and also driving a branded (SARS) vehicle, the victim was easily convinced that indeed they were SARS officials.
“The accused told the victim that she did not submit the returns on time, therefore she was owing SARS a lot of money.”
Maluleke the duo also threatened to sell the victim’s assets which included her vehicle and house in order to recover the money.
“The accused told the victim that they can make her issues with SARS disappear if she can pay them R400,000.”
According to Maluleke the “deal was sealed” and the victim managed to pay R250,000 to the accused.
“While still planning to settle the outstanding amount, the victim was surprised to receive correspondence from SARS that her returns were still not submitted and she decided to report the matter to the Polokwane based Hawks' Serious Commercial Crime Investigation office.”
Following an investigation investigation both the accused were arrested at a restaurant in Makhado on November 9, 2021.
“It was established that the accused were not working for SARS and they never did.”
Following a successful bail application and numerous court appearances the duo were convicted and sentenced.
Maluleke said the courts sentenced them to 5 years imprisonment or pay R100,000 fine which is suspended for 3 years on condition that they are not found guilty on similar offences during the period of suspension.
“The accused were also declared unfit to possess a firearm. The court has ordered them to pay back the remaining balance of R140,000 in monthly instalments starting the end of November.”