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AGENT SENTENCED FOR TAX EVASION ASSIST

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MBABANE - A clearing agent was convicted for assisting a man to evade paying import Value Added Tax (VAT).

Nozipho Felicias Madonsela, employed by Amazing Grace Clearing Agent, was charged for contravening Section 84 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act of 1971. She declared imported goods amounting to E26 199.73 for Magagula Khanya Nkosinathi at Ngwenya Border Post through the Value Added Tax Refund Administration (VRA)process commonly known asSekulula.

Requested

She was requested to produce proof of payment for the goods in South Africa. She produced a First National Bank notification of payment without the details of the payer. She was asked to go to the bank to request a proper notification of payment. She later returned with the said forged notification of payment. The case was then handled by the police, where she admitted having tempered with the notification for payment. She was arrested and charged for contravening Section 84 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act of 1971. She appeared in Mbabane Magistrate Court before Magistrate Qondile Mthetwa. When the charges were read to her, she pleaded guilty to the charge.She was sentenced to two years imprisonment or to a fine of E2 000.

According to the charge sheet, the accused person was charged with contravening Section 84 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act in that on or about March 8 2023, at or near Ngwenya Border Post, in the Hhohho Region, the accused person, did unlawfully and wrongfully make a false statement to Eswatini Revenue Service Officer, one Xolani Mkhontfo, by submitting an altered proof of payment description for payer details from First National Bank for a purpose of declaring a consignment for Magagula Khanya Nkosinathi valued at E26, 199.73, and thereby contravened the said provisions of the Act.

The act states in part “any person who makes a false statement in connexion with any matter dealt with in this Act, or who makes use for the purposes of this Act of a declaration or document containing any such statement shall, unless he proves that he was ignorant of the falsity thereof and that such ignorance was not due to negligence on his part, be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand Emalangeni or treble the value of the goods to which such statement, declaration or document relates, whichever is the greater, or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both, and the goods in respect of which such false statement was made or such false declaration or document was used shall be liable to forfeiture.’’

ERS

Meanwhile, as Eswatini Revenue Service (ERS) continues to crack on companies and individuals who flout the tax laws of the country; a 31- year- old man of Nkoyoyo has been arrested for forging Tax Compliance Certificates. Banele Msane (31) forged two tax compliance certificates for Sehayden Investments and Purple Dot Investments. Both companies were contending for a tender at National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA). When the charges were read to him, he pleaded guilty on both and this resulted in the court finding him guilty as per his own plea. In each count, he was sentenced to one-year imprisonment.  He was afforded an option of a fine of E1 000 on each count. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently. The matter was heard in the Mbabane Magistrates Court before Magistrate Innocent Motsa who presided over the matter.

In count one, the accused was charged with the offence of forgery in that upon or during the year 2022 at or near Sehayden Investments (Pty) Ltd. in the Hhohho District, the said accused person unlawfully and with the intent to defraud and to the prejudice of the ERS forged a Tax Compliance Certificate. In count two, the accused was charged with the offence of forgery in that upon or during the year 2022 at or near Purple Dot Investments (Pty) Ltd. in the Hhohho District, the said accused person unlawfully and with the intent to defraud and to the prejudice of the ERS forged a Tax Compliance Certificate.

In another matter, the court sentenced Patel of Taha Investments to two years  imprisonment for failure to provide proper tax invoices. He was, however, afforded an option of a fine of E2 000. Patel was charged for contravening Section 56 read together with Section 29 (4) of the Value Added Tax of 2011. It is said that on November, 23 and 24, 2022, near Mbabane in the Hhohho Region, he unlawfully failed to ensure that the company provided proper tax invoices as required. The matter was also before Magistrate Motsa. Worth noting, ERS, a few months ago approached the High Court seeking assistance with companies allegedly owing tax.

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