AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
‘Chickens coming home to roost’: Another criminal case against businessman Kishene Chetty over SAPS procurement
Kishene Chetty, a Pretoria businessman accused of operating a vast family racket while capturing the police’s supply chain management, is again in hot water. Chetty, with two co-accused, is now battling for bail in a R13.9m in fraud and tax evasion case.
Kishene Chetty, Harry Milanzi (the sole director of Isimbali Trading and Projects), and Outsurance employee Ravin Ramlall face 18 counts of fraud, one count of misrepresenting an enterprise’s broad-based black economic empowerment status, and five counts of tax evasion.
The three are accused of filing tax returns that allegedly misrepresented their income received between 2015 and 2021. They are also charged with failing to remit to the SA Revenue Service (SARS) the VAT collected from clients. As a result, SARS suffered prejudice in the amount of R13,942,216.
Sindisiwe Seboka, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate (ID), said the Directorate, in collaboration with SARS, has charged the three individuals and a business with fraud and tax evasion of R13.9-million.
A joint statement issued by SARS and the ID reads: “Isimbali Trading and Projects (Pty) Ltd was registered and incorporated in 2012 and Milanzi was listed as the sole director of the company. Chetty was the only one who had the authority to transact on the account of Isimbali Trading and Projects (Pty) Ltd.
“They are accused of making misrepresentations in the tax returns of Isimbali resulting in actual financial prejudice amounting to R9.5-million being suffered by SARS.”
“They had also failed to declare value-added tax levied on the amounts charged to the SAPS to SARS. The value-added tax collected from SAPS but not paid to SARS was R4.4-million. Ramlall, who is a relative of Chetty, acted in concert with Chetty, Milanzi and a tax practitioner whose name cannot be mentioned.”
They were arrested on 15 March and are in custody waiting for the court to rule on their bail application.
The state said in an affidavit deposed to by Sergeant Suneel Bellochun that Chetty had instigated counter-investigations against the prosecution and investigations team because he once had a very tight grip on the SAPS supply chain system and could allegedly manipulate certain rogue police officers.
Chetty, according to Bellochun, has realised that the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost and is accusing the team of abuse of power because he does not want to account for his deeds.
In other cases, Chetty and 14 accused (seven former SAPS members) face a range of charges including corruption, fraud, theft, forgery, uttering, assisting another person in benefiting from the proceeds of crime, and acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities relating to the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the SAPS worth about R1.9-million.
The matter was initially enrolled as a case involving R1.9-million, but has now escalated to R8.5m with two further contracts of R4.1m and R2m, and a plumbing materials contract for R120,000. Among the former SAPS members in the dock is ex-police supply chain manager, Brigadier James Ramanjalum, who was denied bail because he is alleged to have plotted to kill those investigating and prosecuting him.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Former SAPS boss denied bail because of alleged assassination plot
Among the 15 accused in the R1.9-million PPE corruption case is pensioner Salamina Khoza (68), who the State alleges worked with Chetty and/or Siyanqoba Trading and Projects, a company owned by Chetty. In the written quotation to get the tender, the State alleges they:
- Misrepresented the business address of Siyanqoba.
- Misrepresented that the principal business of Siyanqoba was “Medical Equipment and Supplies”.
- The written quotation also contained a fraudulent Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) certificate.
- Indicated that Chetty, Khoza and/or Siyanqoba would take seven to 14 days to supply the required latex gloves – Siyanqoba was not a manufacturer of PPE or latex gloves.
The allegations against Khoza led to her and Sarathamoney Sigamoney (66) being charged with perjury, fraud, theft and contravening the Social Assistance Act for receiving the grant for indigent elderly people while serving as the sole directors of businesses that were awarded tender contracts with the SAPS valued at more than R140-million.
Apart from alleged PPE corruption, Chetty also faces charges relating to dodgy contracts to service and repair police vehicles at inflated prices.
Chetty is the owner of Paroex Auto Tech and Mechanical Holdings which allegedly received at least six fraudulent contracts in 2017 to service and repair police vehicles at the Silverton Police Garage – at hugely inflated prices.
Chetty, Milanzi and Ramlall will be back in court on 11 April for the decision on their bail application in the SARS fraud case. DM