Over the past two weeks, Shoprite chair Christo Wiese has become the lightning rod for public anger over multinationals fleecing SA of tax. This, of course, entirely misses the real villains of the scandal in which London-listed Tullow Oil whisked R3.9bn in assets out of SA without paying tax — a scheme exposed by amaBhungane. Rather, if you’re looking for accountability, the place to start would be at the door of the robber barons themselves, Tullow, or of Africa’s largest law firm, ENSafrica, which structured the complicated deal that the SA Revenue Service (Sars) claims was "a sham". It worked like this: Tullow Oil’s African oil and gas assets were held in an SA company called Energy Africa. Tullow "sold" Energy Africa to a company controlled by ENSafrica called Elandspad for $543.7m. Only, no money changed hands: instead, the law firm set up a loan account — essentially, a R3.9bn IOU from Elandspad to Tullow. Then, that loan account was transferred to Tullow’s Dutch arm, which t...

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