Mon, 09 Dec 2019

Gavin Watson, the head of corruption-accused company Bosasa (now African Global Operations) has appeared before a confidential South African Revenue Service (SARS) inquiry, according to a report.

Business Day has reported that Watson appeared to answer questions under oath about whether he and the company submitted accurate information to SARS about their tax affairs.

It reported that the SARS inquiry will determine whether Watson and Bosasa concealed funds from the taxman and exactly how much they may owe in unpaid taxes.

Should the inquiry find that Watson and his company withheld taxes, SARS can institute civil processes to recover the money.

The revenue service said it would not comment on the inquiry, Eyewitness News reported.

The appearance comes a day after Watson was expected to answer questions relating to a R500 000 donation to President Cyril Ramaphosa's ANC presidential campaign, Business Day reported.

Earlier this month, News24 exclusively reported that SARS was preparing to look into the tax affairs of Watson and his firm. It was expected that advocate Piet Marais, SC, would lead the inquiry.

READ EXCLUSIVE: Taxman guns for Bosasa boss Gavin Watson

It's understood the probe was launched following claims made at the state capture commission of inquiry and in the media.

Earlier this year, former Bosasa operations chief Angelo Agrizzi testified before the commission that the company sought to buy the influence of ministers, other high-ranking government officials and ANC politicians by giving them money and expensive gifts.

Watson, it emerged, allegedly paid senior staff cash on a monthly basis, and it was claimed that he instructed his close associates to structure deals to hide the truth from SARS.

Watson has largely been silent since the allegations against him and the company became public.

His lawyer did not comment on the SARS inquiry to Business Day.

Bosasa has secured lucrative government tenders worth billions since the early 2000s.

In 2007, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) finalised a report that found bribes were paid to former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti and former correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham in exchange for fencing tenders worth hundreds of millions of rand.

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