Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

A businessman and his accountant have been arrested for claiming R110m VAT refunds for a non-existent business in Cape Town‚ the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said.

The arrests were made on Thursday morning.

"The businessman‚ his accountant and five connected close corporations received a total of R110,385,975 in VAT refunds over a period of time‚" SARS said.

"They claimed the VAT refunds by submitting fraudulent invoices to SARS on a monthly basis. Following an audit‚ SARS’s investigations confirmed that the invoices were not only false but that all the invoices‚ on which input VAT were claimed were shared between three vendors.

"SARS was able to confirm that the suspects did not run a business or purchase goods from suppliers‚ yet the refunds they had claimed were tantamount to purchases to the value of R823m" (sic).

"The money was used to pay bonds on the huge property portfolio held amongst them‚ luxury vehicles‚ overseas trips and private expenses."

The accused face charges of contraventions of Tax and Customs Acts‚ as well as charges of theft‚ fraud‚ money laundering‚ forgery and uttering. They are expected to appear in court for a bail hearing within the next few days.

TMG Digital

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