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Boksburg scrap dealer caught by Sars investigators must pay R866,000

A Boksburg businessman has to cough up R866,000 after he tried to export R2m worth of scrap metal to India last year.

Last week Gautam Lal, 40, was sentenced by the Durban magistrate’s court to five years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on the condition that he pays the state R866,000 over the next 20 months.

This was after he pleaded guilty to two counts of exporting steel scrap metal without obtaining an export permit, in contravention of the International Trade Administration Act.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making false declarations in contravention of the Customs and Excise Act.

According to KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the offences took place in February and March last year.

“Lal, who is a businessman from Boksburg, specialised in the buying and selling of scrap metal. In February 2020, Lal attempted to export 10 containers of scrap metal, valued at about R1.1m. In March 2020, he attempted to export eight containers of scrap metal valued at about R922,000,” she said.

He planned on exporting the commodities to the Port of Mundra in India but did not have  an International Trade Administration Commission permit.

“Legislation requires that no goods of a specific class or kind may be exported from SA, except under the authority of and in accordance with the conditions stated in a permit issued by the commission,” said Ramkisson-Kara. “Further, he made false declarations by attaching false or incorrect tariff codes to the items due for export,” she said.

Lal was arrested after an inspection by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) customs investigation unit.

According to Ramkisson-Kara, in giving Lal the five years wholly suspended sentence, the court imposed the after conditions:

  • He must not be convicted of any offence involving a contravention of the International Trade Administration Act during the period of suspension
  • He pays a fine of R600,000 at the clerk of the Durban magistrate’s court in the next 20 months
  • An instalment of R30,000 has to be paid at the end of each month, with the first instalment due at the end of October 2021.

He paid Sars about R266,000 for penalties imposed against him.

“This successful prosecution, where an individual is convicted in their personal capacity instead of their company, is a first for KwaZulu-Natal. The matter was finalised by the regional court control prosecutor, Vaneshree Moodley,” said Ramkisson-Kara.

TimesLIVE

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