PORT ELIZABETH - The National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) this week seized over R30 million worth of luxury goods belonging to nine people accused of defrauding the South African Revenue Service (SARS).  

In a statement, the NPA said it was alleged that the men and a woman defrauded SARS by claiming fraudulent Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds to a potential loss of R99,190,298.97 and an actual loss of R30,598,948.42.

One of the men charged is the owner of Anglo Wealth Sharia, a financial services provider which supposedly has its roots based on Islamic Law (Sharia). 

NPA spokesperso Luvuyo Mkafu said that in collaboration with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and police, that nine people were arrested in Durban and Pretoria last month and face charges of racketeering, fraud, forgery and uttering, money laundering, contravention of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 and contravention of the Value Added Tax Act 89 of 1991. 

The accused include businessman Ridwaan Mohammed Joosab, his wife Shazia, his father Mahomed Igabal and brother Shoayb.  

According to Mkafu, Shoayb, is the owner of Anglo Wealth Shariah.

"During August 2013 and June 2014 he received R1,522,400 through Anglo Wealth Shariah from [Ridwaan Mohammed Joosab] through the false VAT vendors, who fraudulently received refunds from SARS." 

Other accused include accountant Ahmed Amla, Saleem Mohamed Hoosen, Ahmed Mulla, Adnan Archad Ravat and businessman Zuber Patel. 

The accused have all since appeared in court. 

Mkafu said authorities also established that the accused had allegedly hidden their assets in family trusts. "The two trusts involved have also been cited in the restraint order as respondents and their property has been restrained," he said.  

Following the granting of the preservation order, the AFU on Thursday seized 17 properties, a Bentley, a Ferrari, three Lamborghinis, two Porsche vehicles, and a Rolls Royce. Gold coins, gold bars, jewellery and watches were also listed in the order. 

African News Agency/ANA