Jail for SARS employees found guilty of fraud

Image courtesy of Stock.xchnge

Image courtesy of Stock.xchnge

Three former SARS employees and 11 of their friends and family members who defrauded the taxman with over R11 million over a period of seven years were today sentenced to between 20 years and suspended imprisonment.

Former SARS employees Sydney Moyo, his wife Jane and Richard Bopape, who all worked at different departments at SARS, were yesterday sentenced along with 11 co-accused on charges of racketeering, money laundering and fraud.

Moyo, who worked as a messenger and petty cash administrator in the PAYE department of SARS, was described as the “founding father” of the fraudulent scheme in which the syndicate attempting to defraud SARS with close to R30 million.

They were eventually convicted of defrauding SARS with R11 million, of which only a small fraction has been recovered.

The syndicate had offered jobs to unemployed people in return for copies of their identity documents, “registered” them as tax payers and produced fraudulent IRO5 certificates indicating that their “employers” had deducted excessive tax from their salaries.

This resulted in fraudulent tax “refunds” being paid out and channelled into members of the syndicate’s bank accounts.

The scheme operated between 1998 and 2005 before SARS became suspicious because the same post box addresses were used for so many taxpayers.

Judge Mahomed Ismail sentenced Moyo to 15 years effective imprisonment, his wife Jane to 6 years and Bopape to two years imprisonment.

The Moyos have three children, of which the youngest one is five years old.

Jacob Kunene, who was described as the syndicate’s “post master general” and defrauded the taxman with over R7 million, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment while Moses Mnguni, who committed fraud involving R6,5 million and Lucky Mthembu were sentenced to 17 years imprisonment.

SA Air Force instructor Albert Mogale, Maxwell Mkhonza, Jordaan Khumalo and Peter Mnisi were sentenced to seven years imprisonment each; Raymond Mogale and Paulus Jeli to nine years each and Dumisani Nkonyane to six years imprisonment.

The only accused to receive a suspended sentence was Reuben Choma, who has already repaid the just over R7600 he took from SARS.

Two of the accused, Petrus Bapela and Gugulethu Mthembu, were acquitted on all charges while Andries Seoketso and Sello Mothongwane fled and are still fugitives from justice.

today in print