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Joburg businessman gets 12 years in jail for defrauding Sars of R2.7m

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2023/03/28 Jolene Marriah-Maharaj
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Durban – A Joburg businessman found guilty of submitting fraudulent VAT returns to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) has been jailed.

Harisu Bukari, the owner of Mark Two Electronics, was sentenced this week in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court to 12 years behind bars.

The 47-year-old was convicted on multiple counts of fraud, forgery, and uttering.

NPA regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Bukari and his company, Mark Two Electronics were charged with 19 counts of fraud, two of forgery and uttering.

“He submitted fraudulent VAT 201 returns and fictitious tax invoices to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) claiming undue VAT refunds, worth over R2.7 million during the tax periods January 2012 to September 2015.

“His company was not legally entitled to claim VAT refunds from Sars.”

Explaining the charge, Mjonondwane said a business entity is compelled under certain conditions to register for VAT with Sars.

“Once registered, the entity is then referred to as a VAT Vendor and it must levy VAT on the supply of goods and services. This is referred to as Output Tax.

“The VAT Vendor is also entitled to claim VAT on various expenses incurred, be it capital or operational expenses, provided it is for the furtherance of the business as permissible by the VAT Act.”

The NPA welcomed the sentence.

“We hope that the sentence imposed will serve to deter citizens from avoiding tax liability through criminal conduct.”


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