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Thu Oct 23 16:26:19 SAST 2014

More woes for Malema as the taxman swoops

SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 01 February, 2013 00:00
The construction of axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema's house in Silvela Street, Sandton, northern Johannesburg. File photo
Image by: ALON SKUY

The SA Revenue Service has lodged an application in the Pretoria High Court to have the estate of axed ANC Youth League president Julius Malema sequestrated.

According to SARS commissioner Pieter Engelbrecht's affidavit, Malema not only lied about his financial affairs but objected to the revenue service's tax assessment and subsequently applied for the deferment of his tax liabilities.

SARS rejected his application and gave him until September last year to pay R16-million he owed the taxman.

But he failed to comply.

In the statement of assets submitted to SARS, Malema said his Sandton house was valued at R7.1-million, but SARS reduced the amount to R3.6-million after it was confirmed the property was bought for that amount.

Yesterday, workers on the half-built property said it was their last day at work. They did not know when they would return to finish the construction.

Malema had initially indicated he had net assets valued at R8.5-million. This was later reduced to R6.5-million and then to R1.4-million.

"It is contended that these discrepancies are not conducive in concluding that [Malema] has indeed made a full and frank disclosure to SARS and support the contention that it would be to the benefit of [his] creditors to sequestrate his estate," Engelbrecht said.

He said Malema failed to include in the statement of assets and liabilities the farm registered under Lesiba Gwangwa's Gwama Properties, or any loan related to it .

It was evident that Malema had the benefit of assets acquired for his exclusive use but registered by other individuals or entities, such as the Ratanang Family Trust, from which he received large sums of cash he used for his personal use, Engelbrecht said .

"[Malema] is not forthright and honest relating to his financial affairs," he said.

Malema refused to comment yesterday.

His tax woes started in 2009 when he was approached about his non-compliance with his tax obligations. At the time, he had failed to submit tax returns from 2006.

In April 2010, SARS' forensic investigating unit started looking into his tax affairs in relation to companies linked to him. He had still not submitted his tax returns.

The outstanding returns were filed a few months later.

However, SARS established that he had until then not registered the trust as a taxpayer and that large sums of money received by the trust were not declared. In some instances, the cash deposits were declared as non-taxable.

It is said that Malema gave conflicting versions when SARS queried the cash deposits, saying these were donations from anonymous people.

But SARS pointed out that people and entities reflected on the deposit slips were identifiable.

Malema's political fate was sealed this week when the ANC Youth League said it would no longer fight for him to be accepted back into the party.

He is also facing charges of money-laundering.

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