By now, folks should know better than to post videos or pictures of themselves committing crimes or flaunting dodgy cash on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, but apparently, the logic of this passes some by.
In May last year, as the lockdown was starting to take its toll, people were losing jobs, and the economy was in a downward spiral, businessman Hamilton Ndlovu (above) decided to pull a bit of a ‘humble brag’ on social media.
He showed off some of the high-end vehicles he had purchased for himself and his family, valued at around R10,5 million.
Other social media users started sharing his videos, dragging him through the dirt for flaunting his wealth, especially because of his business ties to the government.
The delivery. pic.twitter.com/f7YinQ0BWL
— Tendai Joe (@Tendaijoe) May 23, 2020
As The Daily Maverick reports, his various companies sell goods to the state, including to the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS).
You might recall that the NHLS is currently under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for tender irregularity scandals in connection with the awarding of PPE contracts.
When the videos started doing the rounds, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) took notice, and that’s when the party ended for Ndlovu.
On Monday, reports TimesLIVE, the Pretoria High Court confirmed that he has no defence for his outstanding tax bill, and must find a way to pay back the money to SARS.
The court has made final a provisional order to freeze his bank accounts and seize some of his luxury cars. In his judgement, Gauteng acting Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland summed things up beautifully:
“He thrust himself out of obscurity by doing two things. First, in May 2020 he bought five luxury vehicles at about the same time some of the other respondents received payments for lucrative contracts with the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS). Then he bragged about this feat on social media.”
More from the judgement:
“Apparently, there are people at SARS who trouble to follow social media. They looked into his tax affairs and were impressed that Ndlovu had spared SARS the burden of reading any tax returns since 2016.
“They referred the big spender to the Illicit Economy Unit who have a keen interest in mismatched income and expenditure phenomena.”
Per The South African, Ndlovu has earned a staggering R72,6 million since April 2017, which he has failed to pay tax on.
He now owes SARS a total of R36,82 million.
Back to The Daily Maverick, who reported that when the Illicit Economy Unit started poking around in Ndlovu’s affairs, including his bank accounts, they uncovered money moving back and forth between the ‘respondents’ in the court case.
These respondents and the sums paid included:
As far as they could tell, none of these amounts was “paid by these respondents to produce or acquire the goods sold”.
From the judgement:
The cash flows witch objectively show that the several corporate respondents are mere fronts for Ndlovu to whom all money seeps like oil to a sump is telling; the answer offered to explain that flow is that the various entities assist one another with loans. However, loans for what? They are mere conduits.
The defence was weak, and as the judge points out, if they had a case, they would have made it.
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