Wife exposing R90,000 girlfriend allowance sentenced alongside husband and others in R200 million SARS fraud case

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A GROUP of eight people were charged and sentenced on Monday by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg after they defrauded the South African Revenue Service (Sars) a staggering R100 million.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that between 2009 and 2015, the group operated a VAT syndicate which involved fraudulently claiming Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds from Sars.

The NPA said the syndicate had four ringleaders consisting of two Zimbabwean nationals, Jeremiah Musiwacho Dube and Maxwell Ndlovu Mavudzi, who both fraudulently acquired South African citizenship, a Zambian national Boaz Chilala who evaded arrest, and Sello Rathete.

“The syndicate kingpins defrauded SARS by submitting VAT returns to SARS alleging that entities which were registered in their names and in the names of their co-accused, had incurred VAT expenses by importing into the the country and purchasing from the local suppliers,” said Gauteng NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.

Mjonondwane said the group claimed that they imported diesel and stored it with Vopak Limited and Sasol Oil and then later sold the oil to Engen, Imperial bulk services, FPS, and Unitrans.

She said at the time of their arrest in 2015, they had claimed R200 million and only R100 million was paid out by SARS.

According to News24, the syndicate was exposed after Dube’s wife, Rebecca Dube, anonymously called SARS and informed the revenue entity about the illegal activities.

It is believed that Dube lifted the lid after learning that her husband was having an affair with Moliehi Constance Ramone.

It was reported that Dube gave Ramone a monthly allowance which sometimes amounted to R90,000, and they also went on international trips.

Ramone’s lifestyle aroused suspicions as it exceeded her salary from Hollard Insurance.

Mjonondwane said the anonymous tip assisted the SARS investigating team in tracking everyone who was involved and tracing the funds in various bank accounts.

During investigations, Mavudzi and Dube tried to bribe a senior SARS official by offering him R150,000 to ensure that one their false claim was paid out.

When they were arrested, they brought interlocutory applications and appeals to the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court in attempts to evade justice, but their applications were dismissed.

The NPA said Adam Phiri and Daniel Khanyile turned state witnesses, while another accused, Christopher Dube absconded after his bail was extended, he’s still on the run.

Dube was sentenced to 65 years imprisonment and his wife received 25 years.

Another ringleader, Mavudzi, also received 65 years. Meanwhile, Dube’s girlfriend, Ramone, was sentenced to 10 years.

The other co-accused, Rathete and Edward Shoniwa both received 15-year sentences, while Audrey Radebe and Bongani Mbonani were each given five years.