26 May 2014

South Africa: Malema Admits to Neglecting Tax

Pretoria — Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema on Monday admitted he had not attended to his tax affairs the way the law required.

"I left my financial affairs in the hands of others without making sure that my obligations were complied with," he said in a statement following the extension of his provisional sequestration.

"I accepted and acted on the advice from persons, which in hindsight, I should not have."

The High Court in Pretoria earlier on Monday postponed the sequestration matter to August 25 after an agreement was entered into between Malema and the SA Revenue Service.

Nic Maritz, for Sars, told the court the two had entered into a conditional compromise agreement.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius signed a draft order handed up to her.

According to court papers, Malema owed Sars R16 million plus interest after failing to submit tax returns between 2006 and 2010.

In 2010 Sars contacted Malema about his failure to submit tax returns. It took Malema 18 months, after many attempts by Sars, to file his outstanding returns.

Malema also failed to register the Ratanang Trust for tax purposes, and Sars had to do this on his behalf. Sars attached some of Malema's property to recoup the taxes he owed.

In February, high court Judge Bill Prinsloo ordered that Malema's estate be provisionally sequestrated.

Malema and anyone else who did not want the order to be made final had had until 10am on May 26 to give reasons why this should not happen.

A final sequestration order would affect Malema's political career, as he would not be allowed to serve as a Member of Parliament.

Malema said he was informed by Sars on Monday morning that it had accepted a settlement offer.

"The offer was conditional on a number of aspects, including that I accept that I failed in my past tax obligations... I failed to declare certain income in the past, and consequently failed to pay certain amounts of tax during the required period," he said.

"I accept that additional assessments for tax years 2011 and 2012 will follow and will include further amounts which will include capital, added understatement penalties, and interest.

"I have committed to ensure that my tax affairs will be in order going forward."

Malema said the offer he made to Sars included an additional amount to be paid by him over and above the amount that was collected by the curator bonis for Sars in selling off his assets.

He said he hoped to put the matter behind him and focus on the future.

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