The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has welcomed the conviction and the jail sentence imposed on its former employee on three counts of corruption by the Johannesburg Regional Court today.
Jakobus JG Viljoen, a former Deputy Director at the Johannesburg Receiver of Revenue office, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment of which four years were suspended after pleading guilty on the corruption charges.
In his plea he admitted to having received more than R395 000 in bribes to assist two companies of which Gary Porritt was the CEO, Shawcell Telecommunications LTD and Synergy Management & Finance (Pty) Ltd, to claim expenditure for income tax purposes to which they were not lawfully entitled.
Viljoen's conviction results from months of investigations by SARS' and follows from the search and seizure that was executed during November last year at the premises of Mr Grant Hugh Ramsay and Galahad. He chose to enter into a plea bargain agreement with the NDPP and has pledged to assist SARS in its civil and criminal cases against some of the companies and individuals involved.
Earlier this year Mr Ramsay was sentenced to five years imprisonment for his involvement in fraud and various contraventions of Section 104 of the Income Tax Act, the section dealing with tax evasion.
SARS' Commissioner, Pravin Gordhan, said Viljoen's sentence was a clear message to both SARS employees and corrupt business people that corruption will never be tolerated. Gordhan said SARS was committed to the principles of utmost integrity, honesty and fairness and appealed to taxpayers to avoid attempting to bribe SARS' staff and to avoid engaging in acts of corruption, which is a crime.
"We are committed to rooting out fraud and corruption whether it comes from within our ranks or outside and we make no apologies for that," said Gordhan. "Law abiding South Africans should know that we will never hesitate to use any means to defend our integrity and the confidence that the public has entrusted on us as a government institution."
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE