Hawks arrest former bookkeeper on allegations of R1.6 million tax fraud

Thozama Sauli has been arrested by the Hawks. Picture: Hawks

Thozama Sauli has been arrested by the Hawks. Picture: Hawks

Published May 14, 2024


A 40-year-old bookkeeper has been arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (known as the Hawks) over allegations of R1.6 million tax fraud.

Thozama Sauli, who was the bookkeeper of a company named Zone 607 CC, was arrested on Tuesday and subsequently made a first appearance in the East London Magistrate’s Court the same day.

Eastern Cape Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Ndiphiwe Mhlakuvana said the director of Zone 607 CC, Welcome Mashiyi, 58, was arrested on March 26, 2024 and released three days later on R10,000 bail.

“It is alleged that during the period between 2016 and 2019, Sauli and Mashiyi colluded by intentionally submitted a fraudulent VAT 201 returns to South African Revenue Services (SARS) on behalf of the business entity.

“Subsequent to that, Sars reportedly conducted its internal assessment and picked up “red flags” in the returns submitted for the financial years in question.

“However, some of the returns were reportedly rejected by Sars and some were allegedly paid to the business entity.

“The matter was reported to the East London SCCI of the Hawks for probing.”

Mhlakuvana said the investigation revealed that the accused had intentionally submitted false VAT returns to defraud Sars, where the potential prejudice of an amount of over R1.6 million was nearly suffered.

“Sars actually suffered a loss of over R245.000 in refund to their business entity.”

Sauli is out on R10,000 bail.

The matter will return to court this week for further investigation.

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