The sheriff of the high court has been instructed to seize two luxury vehicles and other moveable property owned by former Prasa boss Lucky Montana.
The warrants were granted by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and relate to unpaid taxes of about R1.8-million that SARS seeks to retrieve from Montana.
According to court filings, SARS obtained a judgment against Montana in early October.
The warrants of execution issued in lieu of the judgment instruct the sheriff to attach moveable property owned by Montana and stored at two of the six upmarket residences owned by or associated with the former Prasa boss.
This includes two Mercedes-Benzes presumably being held at a house in Waterkloof, Pretoria. Montana bought this property in 2013.
A second warrant of execution allows the sheriff to seize movable property at Montana’s residence in the upmarket suburb of Saxonwold in Johannesburg.
It is not clear whether the sheriff has started to enforce the warrants of execution.
Deeds office records show that Montana owns residential properties in his own name for which he forked out altogether R20.2-million. This includes a property in Hurlingham near Sandton that he acquired for R13.5-million in 2015 without obtaining a bank loan.
Three other luxury properties associated with Montana were bought by a shelf company in 2014 and 2015. The shelf company’s sole director is a lawyer linked to a Prasa supplier that secured contracts worth more than R4-billion during Montana’s time in charge of the SOE. Montana took possession of all three properties’ keys shortly after the shelf company bought them.
These properties were bought for R31.7-million, again without bonds. This brings the value of properties owned by or associated with Montana to just under R52-million, mostly covered with cash transactions effected during Montana’s time in charge of Prasa.
The Saxonwold property is currently on the market for R7-million, according to an online advertisement by an estate agency.
Montana’s Saxonwold pad has been “refurbished to nearly its full potential” and consists of six bedrooms, two lounges, a family room, dining room, “gorgeous” study and a gourmet kitchen, according to the advertisement.
SARS said it could not divulge specific details regarding Montana’s unpaid taxes.
“As you are aware, SARS is a creature of statute. As a result, SARS is not in a position to divulge specific information and details on the affairs of taxpayers. SARS is bound by Chapter 6 of the Tax Administration Act, 2011, dealing with confidentiality of information, and more specifically section 69 of the Act, which provides for the secrecy of taxpayer information. This includes investigations into taxpayers or traders,” said the revenue collector.
Montana released a statement on Wednesday afternoon after Daily Maverick published this story.
Here is Montana’s full response.
“The action by SARS was not unexpected. This has been going on for the past 2 years.
I owe the tax man an amount of around R1.6 million arising from the sale of two properties – Capital Gains Tax (“CGT”). SARS had brought this to my attention through my tax advisor. I agreed to settle the amount as soon as I have disposed of another property, which SARS was informed of.
I am fully aware of my obligation to the tax authorities, and the role that this play in our lives. I have never disputed the amount owed to SARS and has made a firm commitment to settle this.
However, the latest action by SARS is clearly vindictive, unethical and smacks of abuse of power by the new clique running SARS. I was never served with the summonse to defend the matter. The Sheriff of the Court arrived at my home this morning with a Warrant of Execution.
This action by SARS is driven by two factors.
Firstly, it is the vindicative action by the SARS Executive, Mr Viwe Mlenzana. He was fired as CEO of Shosholoza Meyl for corruption and irregular conduct during my tenure as Group CEO of PRASA. I was alerted last year that he had abused his position and summonsed certain tax payers and pressured them to “spill the beans on Montana”. They have refused and had been subjected to extreme harassment and repeated audits by SARS.
I wonder if View Mlenzana has disclosed to his boss, the Commissioner of SARS and the ANC faction that brought him to SARS that he was fired from PRASA for fraud and corruption. Let PRASA disclose the file of his disciplinary action. SARS is corrupt to the core. He is bitter and angry, using his position at SARS to settle old scores.
Secondly, SARS had always addressed my tax matters via my tax advisor, and never directly with me. However, on the day that I decided to write to the Zondo Commission (State Capture Commission), they contacted me directly to discuss my tax matters. It was not a coincidence that SARS decided to contact me directly immediately after I stated my intention to testify before the Zondo Commission. The latest action is clear indication to me that they have also seen my detailed submission to the Zondo Commission, which clearly identify the roles of former
SARS executives in unlawful activities.
Whilst I have accepted my obligation to SARS and do not wish to change my commitment to settle the R1.6 mil, the latest action has nothing to do with my tax status but an attempt to intimidate me. I stated in my Zondo Commission that SARS is being used to fight dirty political battles by powerful political forces. Unfortunately for them, I am not intimidated. SARS can proceed to attach my assets but will not win the ultimate war.
Pieter-Louis Myburg was already informed by SARS when the Sherrif of the Court was standing at the gate of my home in Saxonwold. This is aimed at embarrassing me and intimidate me to abandon my testimony before the Commission. The Zondo Commission itself has tried to “pressurize” me to drop some aspects of my statement. I had refused and withdrew fro testifying before the Commission.
This backward tactics and abuse of power will simply not work with me.
I intend to take up this unethical conduct and abuse of power with the Tax Ombudsman, the retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe.” DM
Penguins push other penguins into the water to check if it is free of predators.