EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL
EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL

The gloves have come off between investigative journalist Jacques Pauw and Julius Malema over who helped settle the EFF leader’s income tax bill.

Malema demanded an apology and threatened to take legal action after the author suggested that his tax bill had been settled with a loan from self-confessed cigarette smuggler Adriano Mazzotti. Malema denied the allegation.

Pauw tweeted on Wednesday: "Why is Dali Mpofu committing hara-kiri in defending Tom Moyane? Is it because they have a common friend: tobacco-man Adriano Mazzotti. Under Moyane‚ Mazzotti’s R600m tax bill disappeared. He also paid EFF registration fee in 2014 and gave Malema a loan to help pay his South African Revenue Service (SARS) bill."

Pauw wrote an extensive open letter to Malema‚ which he posted on Facebook on Friday.

"I was wrong in saying that you received a loan from Mazzotti to pay your tax bill. You in fact received a R1m loan from Kyle Phillips — a business partner of Mazzotti and his co-director in Carnilinx‚ an independent tobacco company‚" he wrote.

Pauw referred Malema to an article in the Sunday Times from 2015‚ which quoted the EFF leader’s lawyer saying that Malema had received a loan from Phillips. "You never denied any of these reports. I therefore assume that it is safe to say that it was true that you had received a R1m loan from Phillips."

‘I am sure‚ Mr Malema‚ that you might not be fully aware of what had transpired at Carnilinx‚ but it does beg the question whether Mazzotti‚ Phillips and Sayed entertained you with their proceeds of crime?’

~ Jacques Pauw, author of The President’s Keepers

Pauw said he would not apologise to Malema‚ because it was "irrelevant whether you took a loan from Mazzotti or Phillips‚ because — as I will show you — they are partners-in-crime in Carnilinx". Pauw said Phillips and Mazzotti both held a 16.6% share in the company. Carnilinx paid R200‚000 for the registration of the EFF as a political party in 2014.

Malema‚ he added‚ had called Mazzotti a "brother" when they discussed his book‚ The President’s Keepers‚ in October 2017.

According to Pauw‚ Mazzotti said in an affidavit to SARS on May 6 2014 that, while discussing Carnilinx’s tax bill‚ reportedly worth about R600m‚ he was a "duly authorised representative of Carnilinx". Mazzotti described in the affidavit how SARS’ officials were bribed and spoke of fraud‚ money laundering‚ tobacco smuggling and tax evasion.

"I accept‚ and so does Carnilinx and all its directors‚ that this was unlawful and morally wrong … The cash received was utilised to pay the people referred to and the balance was retained by the three of us in equal proportions. I point out‚ however‚ that a substantial amount of this money was used by the three of us as company expenses‚ engaging in expensive dinners‚ entertaining business people‚ politicians and other people‚" read the affidavit.

According to Pauw‚ the "three of us" were Mazzotti‚ Kyle Phillips and their fellow director Mohammadh Sayed.

"I am sure‚ Mr Malema‚ that you might not be fully aware of what had transpired at Carnilinx‚ but it does beg the question whether Mazzotti‚ Phillips and Sayed entertained you with their proceeds of crime? It is also possible that it was from these proceeds that Mazzotti paid R200‚000 to the EFF to register for the 2014 elections‚" said Pauw.

Mazzotti proposed in the affidavit that they plead guilty but‚ according to Pauw‚ nothing came of it, saying, "Not long after Mazzotti had made his affidavit‚ Johann van Loggerenberg [a former SARS official] was suspended after [being] wrongly accused of running a ‘rogue unit’. [Former SARS commissioner] Ivan Pillay departed SARS in early 2015."

Pauw said that when Tom Moyane became SARS commissioner in October 2014‚ the Carnilinx tax bill had "simply disappeared". Pauw asked Mazzotti‚ prior to the publication of his book‚ if he was tax-compliant. The answer was yes. "It begs the question: how did it happen? And what was the role of Makwakwa and Moyane in making them compliant?"

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