The Johannesburg Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team recently arrested two former South African Revenue Service (SARS) auditors. The arrests were for alleged tax evasion worth approximately R321 million.
The auditors – Corah Madlepollo Kooko (39) and Noluthando Sipokazi Mbanga (45) – and their runner, Mndolozi Mncube (44) have been charged for tax fraud in contravention of the Value Added Tax Act, as well as Customs and Excise Act.
The latter had an actual loss of over R277 million. Of this, R44 million had already been recovered through investigation in conjunction with SARS.
In a statement, the Hawks said between 2013 and 2016, SARS investigators identified extensive VAT fraud with small and medium enterprises sectors registered as VAT merchants.
“The fraud related to the claiming of undue VAT refunds from SARS and money laundering pertaining to these companies and their directors working in cahoots,” said Captain Lloyd Ramovha.
He said the Hawks investigation uncovered that the syndicate involves more than twenty individuals and various companies.
“Taxpayers, runners, SARS current and former employees, as well as bank employees were also caught up in the web of deceit. Most of the fraudulent invoices were uploaded from the SARS branch in Randfontein where some of the implicated suspects were based,” he said.
The Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crime Court granted the trio R10 000 bail each and the case was postponed to July 13 pending further investigation.