Illicit Trade Case: Gold Leaf Tobacco, Rudland Vow To Fight Order Granted To SA Revenue Service1 year ago
Rudland, Gold Leaf Tobacco’s co-owner and Zimbabwe-based tycoon, has vowed to fight a preservation order granted to the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) last week.
The preservation order against Gold Leaf Tobacco and its directors Rudland and Ebrahim Adamjee is intended to prevent realisable assets from being sold or scattered to frustrate the collection of taxes.
SARS which has been investigating illicit tobacco, gold and fuel transactions after massive quantities of cigarettes poured across the Limpopo border from Zimbabwe when South Africa banned the sale of cigarettes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
They became freely available on the black market at a fraction of the cost of more established brands such as Marlboro, manufactured by Philip Morris and it is alleged that the treasury lost billions of rands in revenue each month.
One of Gold Leaf’s brands, RG, reportedly became SA’s largest-selling cigarette brand during the COVID-19 lockdowns raising suspicion of underhand dealings.
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Gold Leaf said it could not be held responsible for cigarettes legitimately bought in Zimbabwe and smuggled across the border.
Gold Leaf’s legal representative, Raees Saint, told Moneyweb that Sars is relying on unnamed informants for its information, and obtained the preservation order ex parte (a court proceeding involving arguments from one party only).
In a statement to Moneyweb, Rudland said Gold Leaf “maintains its innocence and shall continue its operations with complete transparency with the Revenue Authority, as it has always done”. He added:
We will continue to make our excise and Vat contributions, amounting to over R2 billion per annum.
We shall not delve into the merits of the litigation, however, we emphasise that it is appalling to note that Sars [has] opted to rely on falsely crafted information in support of [its] application against Gold Leaf, a taxpayer who makes an enormously significant contribution to the fiscus.
We will oppose the application and protect our rights under the judicial system and we firmly believe that fairness and justice will prevail.
Gold Leaf refutes claims that it was running two sets of books, with illicit off-book sales accounting for the majority of the company’s business – prompting SARS to apply for a preservation order before the North Gauteng High Court.
Rudland was the target of a failed assassination attempt in Johannesburg in 2019.