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Three arrested for alleged R10.1m tax fraud

The Hawks, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, targets organised crime, economic crime, corruption and other serious crime.

Three men accused of tax fraud amounting to R10.1 million have been granted bail, according to the Hawks. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 27, 2022

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Rustenburg - Three men accused of fraud, involving almost R10.2 million tax scam, were granted bail, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, better know as the Hawks, said.

Spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said the men aged 44, 51 and 52 appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria and Palm Ridge on Friday.

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"It is alleged that the Atteridgeville-based construction company, Suxeed Invest 130 and its director, Pule Louis Molele, 52, as well as his co-accused and independent tax practitioner, Solly Ngobeni, 44, submitted false tax return claims through e-filing in order to claim undue value-added tax refund for the period between August and December 2019."

Captain Mulamu said the SA Revenue Service (Sars) allegedly processed some of the refund applied by the accused amounting to about R1.1m.

Sars’ internal forensic investigation team discovered that the claims were fraudulent; an immediate retraction was done and the money was transferred back to the revenue service.

"The matter was reported to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime investigation in Pretoria for further investigation. A warrant of arrest was issued for the apprehension of the accused. They handed themselves in at the Pretoria office and were charged.“

They were granted R500 bail each. The case was postponed to March 4 for docket disclosure.

In Johannesburg, Elias Omen Magheje, 51, also handed himself in on February 24 and was charged with fraud relating to approximately R9.9m, which he allegedly claimed from Sars for the period between November 2017 and January 2018.

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"The refunds were also transferred back to Sars after internal systems noticed some irregularities from the e-filing tax refund claims submitted by a Randfontein construction company, Machembe Constructions and Projects CC.

"Magheje was granted R30 000 bail by the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court. However, Magheje remained in custody due to lack of funds. The case was postponed to 31 March 31, 2022 for docket disclosure."

In the Eastern Cape, the Hawks said Nathan van der Westhuizen, 37, and David Roberts, 59, were convicted and sentenced at the East London Magistrate's Court for numerous charges of dealing in drugs.

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"Between 23 July and August 3, 2021, the East London-based Hawks’ South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau and East London Crime Intelligence embarked on an intelligence driven-clandestine operation after information received about suspects selling mandrax and tik from their residence in Buffalo Flats. Three successful purchases were conducted where 100 mandrax and 50 straws of tik were sold.

"During the execution of a search warrant at their residence, more mandrax tablets, straws of tik and cash were seized. They were arrested on 23 August 2021 and made a short appearance in the East London Magistrate’s Court where they were released on bail," said spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela.

“After a series of court appearances, the duo were ultimately convicted and sentenced. Van der Westhuizen was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with an option of R50 000 fine. He further received seven years’ imprisonment which is suspended for five years. Roberts was sentenced to three years imprisonment with an option a R20 000 fine. He was also sentenced to five years’ imprisonment which is suspended for five years.”

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