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Sars targets Centurion family trust in record R1.5bn tax assessment

The AFU has already attached a Bentley, Ferrari, three Lamborghinis, two Porsches and a Rolls-Royce

25 June 2022 - 12:02
In September 2018, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) attached luxury vehicles and other valuables including gold coins, gold bars and jewellery.
In September 2018, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) attached luxury vehicles and other valuables including gold coins, gold bars and jewellery.
Image: Supplied

APOLOGY

TimesLIVE apologises to Shoayb Joosub for errors in the article “Sars targets Centurion family trust in record R1.5bn tax assessment” (June 8). Joosub is not, as stated, a beneficiary of the Noorjehan Family Trust, which is alleged to be implicated in tax evasion and fraud of more than R99 million. He has no connection to the trust. Neither Joosub nor AngloWealth Shariah was implicated in the alleged tax evasion and fraud.

In March 2018, Joosub and AngloWealth successfully challenged a provisional restraint order obtained by the Asset Forfeiture Unit. The judge ordered the National Director of Public Prosecutions to pay Joosub and AngloWealth’s costs.

We also apologise to Joosub and Anglowealth for failing to seek comment from them ahead of publication.

There is no evidence that Joosub or Anglowealth were involved in tax evasion and fraud.

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A court case against a family previously accused by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) of tax evasion and fraud of more than R99m just received new impetus when Sars issued a tax assessment worth a whopping R1.5bn against one of the family’s trusts.

As far as could be established, this is one of the biggest assessments against a family trust issued by Sars.

The assessment was registered at the North Gauteng high court in Pretoria in May and follows ongoing investigations into the Joosub family’s tax affairs by Sars investigators and specialists.

The criminal case against the Joosub family from Eldoraigne in Centurion was struck off the roll in the same court in September 2018, after the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) attached luxury vehicles and other valuables belonging to nine people. At the time, they stood accused of defrauding Sars of more than R99m by allegedly claiming fraudulent VAT refunds.

The then accused were charged with racketeering, fraud, forgery and uttering, money laundering and contraventions of the tax acts. The case was struck from the roll in September 2018 because Sars was still compiling a cash flow analysis and the magistrate did not want to grant a postponement for it to be completed.

There is a file opened in the name of the trust at the master’s office and it would seem the master of the high court never approved it ... As such it would be illegal to use the trust’s name for any tax claims or to transfer any assets to the trust.
Anonymous forensic auditor

The investigation by Sars, however, continued. At the time the National Prosecuting Authority stated in a media release that the nine accused had hidden their assets in family trusts. At the time two of the trusts involved were also cited in the charge sheet.

The Sars investigators have since discovered another family trust, the Noorjehan Family Trust. According to a forensic auditor Sunday Times Daily spoke to, the trust does not appear on the official register of trusts. The members of the trust have also not handed in letters of appointment of trustees, nor a letter of authority.

“There is a file opened in the name of the trust at the master’s office and it would seem the master of the high court never approved it — probably because of the outstanding documentation. As such it would be illegal to use the trust’s name for any tax claims or to transfer any assets to the trust,” said the auditor, who preferred to remain anonymous for professional reasons.

The trustees of the Noorjehan trust are Noorjehan and Mahomed Iqbal Joosub. The address of the trust, according to the tax assessment is, 2 Diane, Eldoraigne, Centurion.

Noorjehan did not feature in the criminal case, but her son Ridwaan was accused number one in the 2018 case and, according to the NPA’s charge sheet, then allegedly instructed bookkeepers to register 15 false VAT vendors with Sars. He then allegedly provided the bookkeeper with fraudulent documentation for the registration. His brother, Shoayb, was accused number eight in the criminal case.

Shoayb and Anglo Wealth Shariah (Pty) Limited successfully challenged a provisional order restraining their assets, with Judge N Davis finding that the NDPP had failed to prove reasonable grounds on which to conclude that Shoayb may ultimately be convicted. 

Ridwaan and his associates then allegedly communicated and transacted electronically with Sars, purporting to be the registered vendors. They electronically submitted alleged fraudulent VAT refund claims to the value of more than R99m. Ridwaan was also accused of using the vendors’ bank accounts to distribute the money paid back by Sars to disguise the origins of the funds. At the time the NPA claimed that all of the companies’ addresses were false.

NPA also accused Shazia Joosub, one of Joosub senior’s wives, of having submitted various VAT refund claims from the United Arab Emirates.

Even though the criminal case was struck off the role before, the taxation legislation makes provision for Sars to proceed with a civil case against the alleged perpetrators — especially in light of the magnitude of the alleged fraudulent claims against Sars.

Previously the AFU attached luxury vehicles including a Bentley, a Ferrari, three Lamborghinis, two Porsches and a Rolls-Royce, as well as gold coins, gold bars and jewellery.

It is understood that the family have, since the Noorjehan Trust was created in 2014, allegedly “transferred” most of their assets to the trust and used this to evade taxation. Officially the trust file at the master’s office indicates none of these assets. All the transactions the family has since claimed VAT refunds for are included in the tax assessment of R1.5bn now issued.

Various assets have also been sold, which means Sars would need to apply to the court for an order to reclaim the sold assets.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to remove the incorrect statements that Shoayb Joosub is a beneficiary of the Noorjehan trust and that he received more than R1.5m through Anglo Wealth Shariah. The update also reflects that Shoayb Joosub and Anglo Wealth Shariah successfully challenged a provisional restraint on their assets obtained by the National Prosecuting Authority

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