Bloemfontein court grants bail to three accused of defrauding SARS of R132 mln

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The Bloemfontein Magistrate’s court has granted bail to three people accused of defrauding SARS and failing to pay R132 million in tax.

The owner of Buthelezi Ambulance, Thapelo Buthelezi, his wife Monica Buthelezi and their accountant, Nkosana Sekobane handed themselves over to the Park Road police station after a warrant of arrest had been issued.

They face 95 counts of fraud and contravention of the Tax Administration Act for allegedly misrepresenting their tax submissions for Buthelezi Ambulances. The company had a contract with the Department of Health in the Free State to render Emergency Medical Services in the province.

Between 2014 and 2019, Buthelezi Ambulances were a common feature on Free State roads as an outsourced service.

The company had entered into a R900 million agreement with the Free State Department of Health. During that time, it was allegedly submitting zero tax returns to SARS and misrepresenting trading activities.

Added to that, the company allegedly also attempted to claim R30 million from SARS. The three accused have each been granted R30 000 bail.

“The total amount involved which was claimed from the Department of Health is just over R900 million and they were supposed to pay tax to the amount of R132 million but that money was not paid as a result of misrepresentations that were made. But there is also another R30 millions that is as a result of fraudulent submissions that they made to SARS in an attempt to claim money that was not due to them,” says Free State NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping.

The National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed that SARS managed to make arrangements to collect R100 million through third parties.

The matter has been postponed to 23 February next year.