High court dismisses Sars' application to repatriate Agrizzi’s foreign assets
The Pretoria high court has dismissed the South African Revenue Service’s application to repatriate foreign assets held by Angelo Agrizzi in Italy.
Judge Annali Basson handed down the judgment electronically on Monday which was circulated to the parties and their legal representatives.
Sars had applied to the court for an order compelling Agrizzi to repatriate all his assets located outside South Africa to pay his outstanding tax debts.
The order was sought in terms of section 186 contained in Part F of chapter 11 of the Tax Administration Act (TAA).
It also sought an order that Agrizzi discover on affidavit within 10 days from the date of the order, a full and verifiable description and details including values of the assets' whereabouts.
Agrizzi’s assets listed in the notice of motion were immovable property estimated at more than R15m, a BMW X5, funds held in Agrizzi’s bank account at Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy, funds held in cryptocurrency to an unknown value and his wife’s funds held in her account to the value of more than R10m.
Sars became aware of allegations of a large fraud scheme, money laundering, racketeering and tax evasion involving Agrizzi’s former employer, African Global Group of Companies previously known as Bosasa, as a result of evidence led at the Zondo commission of inquiry.
At the time Agrizzi was the group’s COO. Sars investigated the allegations in March 2019 and obtained an order in terms of section 51 of the TAA authorising a tax inquiry into the finances of Bosasa and various related individuals and companies.
In April 2021, Agrizzi submitted a section 164 request for the suspension of the payment and a counter application.
Basson said she agreed with the submission that the relief sought in the application was legally impossible.
She said not only would such an order result in a variation of a material bail condition, but could also result in the arrest and incarceration of Agrizzi as his bail conditions specifically require him to cede as security of his obligation to the state his Italian property.
“The application in terms of section 186 of the Tax Administration Act is dismissed with costs including the costs consequent to the employment of two counsel,” she said.
In the counter application, Agrizzi sought an order reviewing and setting aside Sars’ decision refusing his request for a suspension of payment of his assessed outstanding income tax liability brought in terms of section 164 of the TAA pending the finalisation of an objection or appeal against Sars’ assessment.
Basson granted Agrizzi the counter application with costs including the costs consequent to the employment of two counsels.
“The matter is remitted to the Tier 3 Debt Management Committee for reconsideration of the application for a suspension of payment in terms of section 164 of the Tax Administration Act,” she said.
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