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Sars asked to probe Zuma

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By Murray Williams

Cape Town - The DA has formally asked the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to investigate whether President Jacob Zuma and various reported donors to his cause paid all the necessary taxes.

In response, Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay has confirmed to the Cape Argus that Sars is obliged by law to follow up any such complaint.

On Friday, the Mail & Guardian published what it called “crucial evidence in the case against President Jacob Zuma – evidence that was kept hidden when the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) abandoned its prosecution of him”.

The evidence is in a “confidential” September 2006 forensic report, apparently prepared by KPMG for Zuma’s trial – the trial that never happened after then acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges against Zuma on April 7, 2009.

The report suggests Zuma was paid more than R7 million by a wide range of donors – including R1m from Nelson Mandela to help Zuma settle his debts in June 2005 and a total of 783 payments from his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik amounting to more than R4m.

 

On Tuesday, four days after the allegations were published, the DA has formally asked Sars to investigate.

Tim Harris, DA shadow minister of finance, said he had written to Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula “to request that he investigate whether or not President Jacob Zuma and his donors paid the appropriate taxes arising from the funds – allegedly amounting to more than R7m – transferred to him between 1995 and 2006”.

 

He said that in terms of the Income Tax Act, many of the alleged payments to Zuma could have been classified as donations: ”If this is indeed the case, then they may well have been subject to donations tax… This, of course, assumes that President Zuma accepted the donations without rendering any services in exchange. If this was not the case, then the transfers could instead form part of the president’s ‘gross income’ and be subject to normal income tax.”

Zuma, he said, should be tax-compliant just like all other South Africans.

At the time of going to press, Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, had not yet responded to an invitation to comment.

Cape Argus

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