Mr Justice H J Ferreira today convicted Hamied Palekar in the Cape Town Regional Court to 25 years imprisonment or R500 000.00, plus a further 25 years imprisonment suspended for 5 years after he was found guilty on 14 charges of contravening the Customs and Excise Act by deceptively furnishing false documents to Customs officials and in so doing evaded more than R2 million Excise duties and VAT.
Palekar, well-known in the Meat Industry and trading as Zenith Global Trading Enterprises imported a number of shipments of frozen chicken from the USA. The evasion of tax enabled him to retail at substantially less to wholesalers, subsequently having a negative influence on the market.
Up and above this harsh conviction, the SARS served Hamied Palekar with papers whereupon he is obliged to pay an amount of R3 921 490.80 to the Controller of Customs and Excise.
The case has evoked a lively interest in the Meat Industry. This conviction is expected to serve as a deterrent to other tax evaders.
SARS has clearly indicated that in case where serious criminal activies are evident the transgressor will be summonsed to appear in court and not finalise the matter with settlements as in the past. It can be expected that more people will, in future be summonsed to appear before the criminal court.
The investigation in this case was carried out by the newly appointed SARS Special Investigations Task Team and the prosecution was also handled by the task team's own prosecutor.
Advocate Koos Smit of SARS appeared on behalf of the State and Alex Abercrombie, attorney of Hofmeyrs represented the accused.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE