31/07/2017 06:27 SAST | Updated 31/07/2017 06:27 SAST

Authorities Dropped R120m Case Against Guptas Over A Decade Ago - Report

A tax fraud case against the Guptas was closed over a decade ago, and authorities can't explain why.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
A general view of the Sahara computers headquarters, owned by the Gupta family, is seen in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, April 14, 2016.

A sprawling case involving the Guptas and various tax-related crimes was reportedly ready for prosecution in 2003, but disappeared, Business Day reported on Monday. The case file has reportedly now vanished, and the authorities are unable to explain why it was never prosecuted.

The case reportedly involved R120 million in exchange-control, tax and customs fraud linked to the Gupta's Sahara Computers and Trump Technology, allegedly a Gupta front.

The two companies were investigated by the Scorpions for alleged crimes committed between 1999 and 2001. The investigation was concluded in 2003 but it took the National Prosecuting Authority two years to decide not to prosecute.

Allegedly, the Guptas and their associates operated a scam whereby they underdeclared the value of imported electronic goods and falsified the value of the items on invoices. Sars sources told Business Day that Sahara then claimed back higher amounts of VAT from them by providing fraudulently created customs clearance certificates to the banks.

The NPA said it did not know why the case was not prosecuted. A spokeswoman, Phindi Louw told Business Day that in line with regulations, the file was destroyed.

"Dockets are filed by the police and since this is an old matter, we will have to recall the docket from the police to establish what transpired," she said. Louw also reportedly said that the advocate assigned to the case had left the NPA and the person who was assisting him could not remember why the NPA decided not to prosecute. SARS, the Reserve Bank and the Guptas did not respond to Business Day's questions.