Moyane, Mbalula praise Hawks for busting a VAT syndicate

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The South African Revenue Services (SARS) says it will leave no stone unturned to ensure that they recover monies paid to tax fraud scammers. This follows the arrest of nine people by the Hawks earlier this week suspected to be part of a tax fraud syndicate.

The arrests were made in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal following an investigation by SARS commissioners and the police.

The syndicate allegedly claimed R99 million fraudulent refunds through 15 registered, but non-existent VAT vendors. SARS had already paid out approximately R30.6 million .

The proceeds of the scam were then deposited in bank accounts from where the money was allegedly laundered through at least 35 so-called suppliers. The investigation has been going since 2011.

SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane says the country cannot afford to lose more over such crimes.

“We became suspicious of the number of companies, such VAT claims and refunds. For a number of years we went through this process since 2011, when I took over around 2014 it was brought to my attention that there was this huge syndicate and they were trying to break it. I made it clear that we are a revenue service and we are required by law to collect all the revenue due. Anything that denies the fiscus of the required money to make the economy grow, we should not allow it.”

Moyane has conceded that illicit financial flows remain one of the biggest challenges facing the revenue services. There is however a process in place of drafting stricter laws which will see a limit in the amount of money leaving the country.

“But certainly I want to assure the South African public that illicit financial flows is a problem, and we are dealing with it expeditiously as a team and we are putting a document for government to see what strategies we going to be putting in place as to how to limit the huge amount of money that is leaving the African continent and thus denying our economies to serve the interest of the people.”

Meanwhile, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has commended the Hawks and Sars for the arrests. Mbalula says this illustrates the hard but unrecognised work of the police.

“I just want to say that this is about tamping the authority of the state. The point that anyone thinks they can do as they wish because the state is lacklustre and not biting, that is self-correcting in the system and this project and many others of take down as syndicates is an indication.”

An AK47 assault rifle, a pistol, R250 000 in cash and several gold bars as well as Kruger Rands worth millions of rands and bags were some of the things discovered during the search and seizure operation.

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