JAILED: Johan van Staden

A man who defrauded Sars out of R250 million has been jailed for 20 years.

However, Cape Town businessman Johan van Staden will have to fight one more battle  an Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) bid to strip him of millions of rands worth of assets.

The AFU has about R6m of Van Staden’s assets under restraint and its next step in the process is to apply for a confiscation order, to see how he benefited from the fraud. A date for the inquiry has not yet been set.

Van Staden defrauded the tax man of more than R250 million in fictitious VAT return claims.

The 54-year old, who was convicted of fraud, racketeering, money laundering and reckless trading, was led down to the holding cells of the Western Cape High Court on Friday after Judge Anton Veldhuizen sentenced him to an effective 20 years behind bars.

The court found he was the mastermind of a multimillion rand VAT fraud scheme, the largest to ever be prosecuted in the Western Cape.

He committed the fraud between 2005 and 2008 as the representative vendor of Indo Atlantic Seafoods (Pty) Limited, Indo Atlantic Shipping Limited and Southern Ocean Marine Corporation (Pty) Limited and as the person who was legally responsible for their VAT returns.

Van Staden had a previous conviction involving the presentation of false currency.

Welcoming the conviction, Eric Ntabazalila, the National Prosecuting Authority’s provincial spokesman, says they are studying the judgement to determine whether or not to appeal the acquittal of Van Staden’s co-accused, Marc Schoeman, Gerhard Botha and Gary Newmark.