White collar crime worrying

South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Pravin Gordhan yesterday emphasised that white collar crime was a serious concern and that it was receiving urgent attention.

South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Pravin Gordhan yesterday emphasised that white collar crime was a serious concern and that it was receiving urgent attention.

"We are receiving increasing information about a number of individuals who have unlimited wealth but limited details in their income tax returns," said Gordhan. "We want a country of honest individuals."

Finance minister Trevor Manuel said in his budget speech on Wednesday that "the culture of greed plays a role in driving crime. We will not tolerate a situation where individuals pillage and plunder millions from the companies they run or from ordinary South Africans whose entire life savings get destroyed in the process."

Manuel said that he had instructed the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Financial Services Board (FSB) and Sars to work collaboratively with the police and prosecutors in dealing with financial crime.

This comes in the wake of the recent Fidentia scandal, in which the FSB said it could not trace R680million taken from investors by asset management subsidiary Fidentia Asset Management's Living Hands Um-brella Trust - the body responsible for administering funds belonging to the Mineworkers Provident Fund for widows and orphans of mineworkers.

The scandal is believed to potentially be the biggest fraud of its kind in South Africa's history. - I-Net Bridge

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