The Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in Palm Ridge sentenced 47-year-old Harisu Bukari to 12 years imprisonment for multiple counts of fraud, forgery, and uttering.

Bukari and his company, Mark Two Electronics were charged with 19 counts of fraud, two of forgery and uttering in that he submitted fraudulent VAT (Value Added Tax) 201 returns and fictitious tax invoices to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) claiming undue VAT refunds, worth over R2,7 million during the tax periods January 2012 to September 2015.His company was not legally entitled to claim VAT refunds from SARS.

A business entity is compelled under certain conditions to register for VAT with SARS. Once registered, the entity is then referred to as a VAT Vendor and it must levy VAT on the supply of goods and services. This is referred to as Output Tax. The VAT Vendor is also entitled to claim VAT on various expenses incurred, be it capital or operational expenses, provided it is for the furtherance of the business as permissible by the VAT Act. This is referred to as Input Tax. Every Vat Vendor must submit periodic returns to SARS, accounting for both Input and Output Tax. The form rendered periodically is referred to as a VAT 201 return. SARS places upon the bona fides and honesty of each VAT Vendor to calculate and administer the amount payable to SARS or refundable to the VAT Vendor on a basis of trust between SARS and the VAT Vendor.

The NPA applauds Advocate Mzuhleli Mcosini and investigators from SARS’ Criminal Investigations unit for ensuring that the accused faces the full might of the law for abusing the trust that SARS placed on him as a VAT Vendor and hope that the sentence imposed will serve to deter citizens from avoiding tax liability through criminal conduct.

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