R300-million VAT scam earns company directors 25 years in jail
Three men who swindled almost R300-million in VAT refunds out of the South African Revenue Service will spend 25 years in prison.
Former Square One chairman Garth Coetser and his co-accused‚ Anton Meyer and Clifford Stevens‚ were sentenced in the high court in Pretoria on Wednesday after being convicted of fraud‚ uttering‚ forgery and money-laundering.
A SARS statement said: “The VAT fraud‚ as well as other criminal activity‚ took place under the pretext that electronic equipment was being imported from the US and then exported again.
“This practice was used in 18 different companies‚ where the accused were directors‚ to elicit approximately R300-million in VAT refunds.”
Prosecutor Marius Oosthuizen‚ who works in the National Prosecuting Authority’s specialised tax unit‚ said the men submitted 198 fraudulent claims for VAT refunds from 2007 to 2010.
Square One‚ which listed on the JSE in 2000‚ had several operating entities. It was liquidated in 2010 because of its “precarious cash flow situation”.