Tahir Mohamed Ismail, 40, pleaded guilty to all 560 counts of fraud he was charged with. He ran a scam dating back to 2010 in which he submitted false income tax returns and claimed refunds for about 98 taxpayers.
During mitigation of sentence the prosecutor, advocate Selvan Govender, said Ismail committed the offences to finance a lifestyle he could not afford on his R5 000-a-month salary, and had squandered a bright future.
“He chose to indulge in fraud to rent property at the plush Zimbali Estate and to purchase a Golf R cash. There is no excuse for his actions. The accused caused Sars not to meet its targets and any tax increase as a result will also cause the community at large to suffer.” This was after Ismail told the court that he had only had access to about R3m of the R5m, of which he had used R400000 to buy the Golf R and to pay rent of R25000 a month.
Ismail told the court he could repay the money at R10000 a month.
“I submit that the offer to pay R10000 a month is not acceptable. This means it will take him over 40 years to repay, not counting the interest. He will be 80 years old by then,” said Govender.
Magistrate M Reddy said: “In sentencing you, the court took into account the multiple crimes you have been found guilty of, as well as the interests of society. These sorts of crimes are viewed in an extremely serious light and the court accepts that crimes of this nature have serious consequences for the country’s economy,” she said.
Reddy said the five-year term was the only appropriate sentence.