#PAY­BACK THE­MONEY

WHO IS SET­TLING MALEMA’S TAXES?

CityPress - - Front Page - JAC­QUES PAUW in­ves­ti­ga­tions@me­dia24.com

As he ap­pears in court to­mor­row, Julius Malema faces tough ques­tions from the tax­man about where he got the money to pay his R18 mil­lion tax bill. Malema will ap­pear in the North Gaut­eng High Court for a rul­ing on whether the pro­vi­sional se­ques­tra­tion or­der against him should be fi­nalised or set aside.

But the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) will ask the court to ex­tend Malema’s pro­vi­sional se­ques­tra­tion for two more months while it in­ves­ti­gates who has been com­ing up with his monthly pay­ments to the tax­man.

Im­pec­ca­ble sources have told City Press this week that al­leged to­bacco smug­gler Adri­ano Maz­zotti was a gen­er­ous fi­nan­cial donor to Malema and may well be the source of the re­pay­ments.

Maz­zotti, a direc­tor of cig­a­rette com­pany Carnil­inx, is also un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Sars for smug­gling and tax eva­sion.

This week, Maz­zotti told City Press that he was “good friends” with Malema.

He also ad­mit­ted to con­tribut­ing R200 000 to­wards the reg­is­tra­tion of the Economic Free­dom Fighters (EFF) ear­lier this year so the party could par­tic­i­pate in the May gen­eral elec­tions.

And he said he had paid do­na­tions tax on his con­tri­bu­tion.

How­ever, Maz­zotti de­nied set­tling Malema’s tax bill. “I’m be­ing as­sessed by Sars at the mo­ment and I sus­pect they are go­ing to hit me hard,” he said. “I won’t be able to af­ford th­ese pay­ments.”

A fu­ri­ous Malema yes­ter­day re­fused to com­ment on his tax bill, say­ing it was “no­body’s busi­ness” who was pay­ing it. He said if Sars was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ori­gin of the pay­ments, he would be fu­ri­ous and he re­garded that as a breach of con­fi­dence.

“They have never asked me where the money has come from,” he said. “Why do they say to the me­dia they want to know but they don’t tell me? This is very un­pro­fes­sional.”

Malema said Sars was go­ing back to its “old ways”. And he said he would com­plain.

“We’ve es­tab­lished a re­la­tion­ship. I’m co­op­er­at­ing with them and I am com­ply­ing with the let­ter of the agree­ment,” he said. “What ploy is this now? I have noth­ing to hide.”

Carnil­inx has been ac­cused of hir­ing pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tors to gather in­for­ma­tion on Sars in­ves­ti­ga­tors and the po­lice in an at­tempt to stop probes into its tax af­fairs.

Sars has opened a case against Maz­zotti and other Carnil­inx di­rec­tors with the Hawks. The case is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Maz­zotti, a flam­boy­ant char­ac­ter, said he used to be an ANC mem­ber but now be­lieves the party needs to move left in their economic di­rec­tion – to­wards the EFF. He is a direc­tor of at least 17 com­pa­nies and one of his busi­ness as­so­ciates is con­victed drug dealer Glenn Agliotti.

A source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion told City Press this week that Sars wanted to es­tab­lish whether any dirty money, from any source, was used to set­tle Malema’s tax bill. If it had been, it would com­pro­mise the agree­ment between Malema and Sars. Sars also wanted to know if the peo­ple fi­nanc­ing the pay­ments had paid do­na­tions tax on their con­tri­bu­tions.

Sars spokesper­son Adrian Lackay said this week that when the pro­vi­sional se­ques­tra­tion or­der was granted in Fe­bru­ary, two trustees were ap­pointed to over­see Malema’s es­tate. Their du­ties in­cluded re­ceiv­ing monthly pay­ments to­wards Malema’s tax bill.

“Sars has re­quested the trustees to ver­ify the ori­gin of the pay­ments to en­sure the con­di­tions of the com­pro­mise of­fer are ad­hered to,” Lackay said.

How­ever, Malema’s tax prob­lems could be even worse than R18 mil­lion. He is ex­pected to owe even more af­ter Sars con­ducted an ad­di­tional as­sess­ment for his 2011 and 2012 tax years.

Malema con­firmed that Sars was con­duct­ing fur­ther as­sess­ments of his tax af­fairs, but said he did not have any de­tails about them.

The 2011 and 2012 tax years were not orig­i­nally as­sessed by Sars when they pre­sented Malema with a R16 mil­lion tax bill which, in the mean­time, has grown to R18 mil­lion.

Malema’s po­lit­i­cal future rests on his tax bat­tle with Sars. If the pro­vi­sional or­der for his se­ques­tra­tion is set aside, he can con­tinue to serve as an MP. If he is se­ques­trated, he can­not be an MP. The agree­ment Malema struck with Sars com­pelled him to lay bare his fi­nan­cial af­fairs, and make a full and ver­i­fi­able dis­clo­sure of his as­sets, li­a­bil­i­ties and sources of in­come.

In a state­ment af­ter the agree­ment, Malema pledged to en­sure that his tax af­fairs were in or­der and promised to com­ply with the con­di­tions of the agree­ment and all tax laws.

#IRONY Julius Malema has some pay­ing back of

his own to do

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