The arrest yesterday of two individuals who are believed to be part of a broader commercial fraud syndicate will strengthen the commitment by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to fight all forms of fraud and corruption - inside and outside the organisation.
In September 2006, SARS appointed a special task team to work closely with other law enforcement agencies, after various forms of tax refund fraud were identified by SARS investigators. Over the past 18 months this task team has identified 55 suspects for investigation and arrest.
Of these, 20 individuals - including one SARS employee - have been successfully prosecuted to date. Another 16 individuals have since been arrested and are awaiting trial. The prosecution of a further 17 is currently under consideration by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
In view of yesterday's arrests in Johannesburg by the South African Police Service, and the uncovering of a suspected fraud syndicate, SARS assures taxpayers that it will act decisively against any fraudulent activity. The possibility of collusion between SARS employees and syndicate members is of particular concern.
Should investigations find evidence of collusion SARS will act decisively against such employees. SARS will also tighten its own internal processes and security procedures to ensure the details of taxpayers are safeguarded against any form of abuse.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE