SARS achieves 92% conviction rate for tax crime offenders
03 June 2015
Posted by: Author: BDlive
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) says it has over the past year achieved a 92% conviction rate in cases it handed over for prosecution‚ involving tax and customs-related crimes.
Over the 2014/5 financial year‚ there were 256 individuals/entities convicted in cases involving R196m, with fines totalling R9.6m issued‚ SARS said in a statement issued by the government news service.
An effective 555 years of imprisonment‚ 258 months of correctional supervision and 2480 hours of community service were handed down to those convicted.
In terms of the different crimes involved‚ there were 32 convictions for VAT fraud‚ 73 convictions for Income Tax fraud‚ eight for tobacco-related crimes and nine involving the construction industry — largely for tender fraud‚ among others.
"These convictions illustrate that SARS has the capability to investigate tax crimes effectively despite recent speculation that its enforcement capability has been diminished‚" said the revenue service.
SARS has seen an exodus of senior staff since late last year‚ many due to the fallout from revelations linked to the "rogue unit". The Hawks are investigating the actions of the tax authority following affidavits‚ reportedly by two members of the unit‚ implicating agency personnel in the illegal bugging of the National Prosecuting Authority offices.
In its statement this week‚ the revenue service used the case of Lucky Thulani Mavimbela as a case that was successfully finalised.
Mavimbela was involved in the smuggling of illicit cigarettes from Zimbabwe to South Africa. He was caught in possession of various brands of illicit cigarettes — 256 master boxes and 2‚450 cartons in total — amounting to more than R2.9m in July 2013. He was sentenced to five years’ direct imprisonment.
There is no let up for offenders either‚ SARS said‚ disclosing that in May alone 30 cases have been approved for criminal prosecution with charges relating to these cases now being laid with police.
This article first appeared on bdlive.co.za.