Rendani Ramaligela (43) and Ndivhuwo Ramudumela (41) were convicted and sentenced for defrauding a businesswoman of R250 000-00 by the Giyani Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 17 November 2023.
On 24 October 2018, Ramagalela and Ramudumela visited the victim who is a successful businesswoman at her Vuwani home.
The accused introduced themselves to the victim as South African Revenue Services (SARS) officials. Since they were dressed in SARS-looking uniform and also driving a branded (SARS) vehicle, the victim was easily convinced that indeed they were SARS officials.
The accused told the victim that she did not submit the returns on time, therefore she was owing SARS a lot of money. Furthermore, they threatened to sell her assets (vehicle and house) in order to recover the money. However, the accused told the victim that they can make her issues with SARS disappear if she can pay them R400 000-00.
The deal was sealed and the victim managed to pay R250 000-00 to the accused. While still planning to settle the outstanding amount, the victim was surprised to receive correspondence from SARS that her returns were still not submitted and she decided to report the matter to the Polokwane based Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation office.
The matter was meticulously investigated in consultation with the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) until the warrants of arrest were issued against the accused.
The accused were arrested in one of the restaurants in Makhado on 9 November 2021.
It was established that the accused were not working for SARS and they never did.
After making numerous court appearances, the accused were granted bail until they were convicted and each sentenced to 5 years imprisonment or pay R100 000-00 fine which is suspended for 3 years on condition that they are not found guilty on similar offences during the period of suspension. The accused were also declared unfit to possess a firearm. The court has ordered them to pay back the remaining balance of R140 000-00 in monthly instalments starting from 30 November 2023.
The Provincial Head of the Hawks in Limpopo Province Major General Gopz Govender has expressed his gratitude to the investigation team as well as the prosecution team for their great effort in ensuring that the accused are convicted and slapped with heavy sentences.