Cape Town surgeon 'pays' for tax submission failures with ops

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A Cape Town orthopaedic surgeon who for nine years failed to submit his company income tax returns had charges withdrawn after he completed a diversion programme of 12 free surgeries. Dr Nisar Ahmed Moosa and his company RMC Pharmacy were charged with eight counts of failure to submit company income tax returns from 2009 and 2017. The company was fined R15,000, suspended for five years.

News24 reports that charges against Moosa, who is the director of the pharmacy company, were withdrawn in the Western Cape High Court after he completed a diversion programme.

As part of the diversion programme, Moosa performed operations on 12 patients at the Rondebosch Medical Centre Private Hospital for free. The patients were selected from a waiting list of patients at Groote Schuur Hospital for hand-related conditions like carpal tunnel, ganglions, and De Quervainʼs tenosynovitis, National Prosecuting Authority Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.

The estimated cost of the operations is R300 780, which included the costs for the theatre, hospital stay, medication, surgeon, and anaesthetist. RMC Pharmacy paid those costs.

TimesLIVE reports that Prosecutor Monwabisi Mabiya told the court Moosa and his company had employed accountants who were tasked with submitting income tax returns on their behalf. Moosa later employed external auditors and appointed a new accountant. “There was then confusion among them as to who was responsible to submit the returns. Because of the accused's own dereliction, he never followed up with the accountant to confirm if the returns were submitted,” said Mabiya.

“Even when contacted by the SA Revenue Service, it was dealt with as a trifling matter and as a result the returns were never submitted.”

Moosa made representations to the prosecution’s specialised tax unit. Ntabazalila said Adv Kevin Rossouw, head of the unit in the Western Cape, and Mabiya “agreed that the facts of the case were such that it would not only be a suitable case for diversion”. “A diversion in this instance could provide a much better outcome in terms of the accused making reparations to society for his conduct rather than being criminally prosecuted and sentenced.

“Being aware of the shortage in resources at state-funded hospitals and the resulting long waiting lists for operations patients at state hospitals have to endure, Adv Rossouw suggested to the defence that the prosecution would be willing to divert the case if Dr Moosa would agree to conduct 12 operations free of charge on patients identified from the Groote Schuur Hospital waiting list. The parties agreed.”

Full News24 report (Open access)

Full TimesLIVE report (Open access)

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