SARS asks high court to sequestrate VBS fixer Kabelo Matsepe
Court documents filed by the South African Revenue Service’s Criminal and Illicit Economy Activities division in their sequestration case against VBS Mutual Bank fixer-cum-businessman Kabelo Matsepe reveal that the taxman traced millions of undeclared rands, including 'commissions' from the bank, right into Matsepe’s pocket.
SARS now wants what it is owed: an eye-watering R61-million in tax.
But SARS also has its eye on another prize: a deep dive into widespread malfeasance at the bank – a door opened to it by provisions in the Insolvency Act. In this way, rumours of Matsepe’s powerful backers may be further aired and tested.
Matsepe is the Limpopo businessman linked to Danny Msiza who received R35,4-million in gratuitous money allegedly stolen from VBS and from the pockets of vulnerable depositors and municipalities. Matsepe’s version is that the money was well-earned “commissions” for linking municipalities to the bank, defined within the parameters of a contract.
To thrash out the facts of how and by whom VBS Bank was looted into insolvency and whether Matsepe’s “commission” scheme was legal, Matsepe will answer to the criminal case brought against him and 13 co-accused in the High Court in Pretoria. Matsepe and the bank’s managers, auditors, executive directors and other officials are charged with more than 180 counts of theft, fraud, money laundering, corruption, racketeering and contraventions of provisions in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca).
SARS now adds to Matsepe’s woes. The high court will hear the taxman’s virtual application for the sequestration of Matsepe on Tuesday at 2pm. SARS says it is owed R61-million in income tax and VAT for the 2015-to-2018 tax periods. This also includes non-declaration penalties and interest for non-payment.
Included in SARS’ heads of arguments is this line: upon the sequestration of Matsepe’s estate, he may be “interrogated and an investigation of his affairs may be conducted in which still further assets may be revealed”. Advocate Terry Motau SC and law firm Werksmans, mandated by the Reserve Bank to investigate the fraud perpetrated against VBS Bank, had argued in their report titled The Great Bank Heist that Matsepe was but a front for the ANC Limpopo leader Msiza.
It seems that SARS is aware of the fronting allegations, and that investigators have a keen eye trained on following the money to all the VBS-loot beneficiaries.
Matsepe, on the other hand, argues in his opposing papers that SARS has it all wrong. His main argument seems to hinge on the idea that SARS shouldn’t tax him, but rather the company of which he is the sole director, Mashate Investments, which was the main receiver of VBS “commissions”. The taxman said this line of argument is unhelpful and Mashate Investments’ tax situation is “irrelevant” for the sequestration case.
Seeing the millions of VBS rands washed through Mashate Investments, it seems likely that SARS will also have its eye trained on the company at a later stage.
Scorpio will seek to attend the sequestration hearing at 2pm and will update this newsflash. DM
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