10-year sentence for cigarette tax fraud: 'A good sign that SARS is on the mend'

10-year sentence for cigarette tax fraud: 'A good sign that SARS is on the mend'
© Provided by 702

The director of a South African company Oakbay Trading, Druvkumar Narendra Naik, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Johannesburg Regional Court found Naik guilty of falsifying export documents to not pay tax on cigarettes.

The fraud cost the South African Revenue Service (SARS) about R18 million in lost revenues.

John Perlman speaks to former SARS executive and author of Tobacco Wars Johann van Loggerenberg.

It’s not the first conviction of this kind but I consider it to be a good signal of the fact that aspects of the revenue service might well be on the mend considering the history of this particular case.

Johann van Loggerenberg, Former SARS executive and author of Tobacco Wars

You are looking at fairly complex criminal investigation and prosecution because it concerns tax. They are not easy cases to put together and prosecute. These are white-collar crimes that are sophisticated and require capable and skilled investigators to put the docket together and get the evidence ready for prosecution.

Johann van Loggerenberg, Former SARS executive and author of Tobacco Wars

Parallel to criminal prosecutions are also financial aspects of the investigations. Those sometimes run a bit quicker and the public may not necessarily have sight of what is going on there. My guess will be that in terms of monies owed, assets and that sort of thing would likely have been wrapped up … in a different legal platform.

Johann van Loggerenberg, Former SARS executive and author of Tobacco Wars

Listen to the full interview below:

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