SARS says it has recovered R170m in unpaid taxes, after its pursuit of 52 companies that were awarded R1bn in contracts for COVID-19-related services, reports News24.
“To date, eleven companies have been convicted, seven cases are currently on the court roll, 29 cases are with the NPA for the drafting of charge sheets and/or warrant of arrests, while five case dockets are being processed by the Hawks,” said SARS. In addition to the R170m recovery, R500m in assets that include cash are under preservation orders. The tax collector is also investigating 33 companies linked to politically exposed people.
SARS said a number of companies that received tenders with the state to the tune of R50m had been sentenced for not registering VAT. These companies received tenders from the Gauteng Department of Education to decontaminate and deep-clean schools, while another received a tender from the KZN Department of Social Development to provide hygiene equipment and supplies.
The companies were convicted and sentenced in the Durban District Court last week. The sentences range from five months to 10 months imprisonment with the option of a fine. The cases follow similar convictions in Gauteng and Free State, SARS said. In total, the work done by SARS and other entities on these companies resulted in an asset and cash seizure of R41m.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said: ”It seems to be patently obvious that some companies are operating outside the law, seeking to profit from a devastating pandemic that is affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Africans, especially the poor and vulnerable. Sadly, most of the looted funds are being used to finance lavish lifestyles.”
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