SA cigarette baron smoked out28/02/2007 13:26DisplayAd("C1");
Pretoria - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been given the go-ahead to seize assets worth millions from a businessmen facing enormous cigarette smuggling, fraud and racketeering charges. NPA spokesperson Lucinda Moonieya said on Wednesday the case against Hendrik Delport and 12 others was "one of the biggest asset forfeiture orders ever obtained in South Africa". The Pretoria High Court order was in respect of assets worth R370m, she said.
"The order is being executed today and the AFU (Asset Forfeiture Unit) estimates that assets worth R100m or more will be found," she said. Delport is the owner of an aviation company, Phoebus Apollo Aviation, which undertakes cargo flights to neighbouring states from South Africa and also owns a flight school and a cigarette factory, Exclusive Tobacco Products, read the NPA statement.
"During 2000, the SA Revenue Service (SARS) conducted an audit on the various business entities associated with Mr Delport and his co-accused to verify the exportation documents for cigarettes to various countries.
"The investigation also required co-operation from law enforcement agencies from Angola, Zimbabwe and Malawi." The NPA said the SARS' contention in the subsequent criminal trial against Delport and his co-accused was that they had submitted false documents to claim VAT and excise duties.
"SARS further contends that fraudulent claims for VAT and excise duties amounts to a potential loss to the fiscus of approximately R264m." The criminal trial against Delport and others has already entered its second year. Some 26 witnesses have already testified to date in the Pretoria Regional Court. Among the accused is Hendrik Gerhardus van der Merwe, a former SARS employee.
Every dog gets his day, Highway Hennie I hope gets two...
AFU seizes R260m worth of assets 28/02/2007 15:05:25 It is one of the biggest asset busts ever in the country. The Forfeiture Unit has seized goods worth more than R264m. It follows a huge investigation by the Revenue Services into Hendrik Delport, the owner of aviation company Phoebus Apollo Aviation. He and 12 other individuals and businesses face more than 7 000 charges relating to cigarette smuggling, fraud and racketeering. Their criminal trial is already in its second year. The NPA's Lucinda Moonieya says they swooped on Rand Airport and seized a range of assets. Back to headlines
HEHEHEHEHEHEHE I have never laughed so loudly!!! Every dog gets his day; I hope Highway Hennie gets two... How does it feel to be on the receiving end Hennie? Have your years of being "naughty" finally caught up with you? Do you remember all the people you screwed over the years and now it's your turn. Talking about being screwed, only one question comes to mind: "Do you want to be mama or do you want to be papa..." HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE
NPA seizes 10 aircraft28/02/2007 16:40 Cape Town - South African authorities set about seizing assets worth nearly $14m Wednesday, including 10 light aircraft, after busting a major international cigarette-smuggling ring. The seizure was authorised by a court order obtained by the national prosecuting authority against businessman Hendrik Delport and 12 co-accused in a trial involving smuggling, fraud and racketeering.
"The list of assets include 10 light aircraft that were stationed at Rand Airport (near Johannesburg), a large number of vehicles and a number of properties registered in the name of Mr Delport, his co-accused and associated entities," said a statement from the asset forfeiture unit (AFU).
"The order is being executed today and the AFU estimates that assets worth R100m or more will be found." Delport owns an aviation company by the name of Phoebus Apollo Aviation which undertakes cargo flights to neighbouring states, as well as a flight school and a cigarette factory. His co-accused included business associates and an employee of the revenue service. The investigation arose from a 2000 audit by the SA Revenue Service which found tax and excise duty fraud to the tune of some R264m on export documents for cigarettes to various countries. An independent curator would control the seized assets until the finalisation of the criminal trial, currently in its second year
Police, Sars officers find container full of cigarettes worth R3m
Discovery linked to alleged kingpin Hendrik Delport
March 08, 2007 Edition 1 Karyn Maughan Authorities have swooped on an abandoned and derelict plot on the West Rand where they discovered a container crammed with illegal cigarettes valued at R3-million. Yesterday's find, which came after a tip-off by police reservists, has been linked to alleged criminal kingpin Hendrik Delport, who is already facing 7 000 charges relating to fraud and smuggling - and facing the loss of R370-million worth of assets. It was the cigarettes' brand, "Exclusive", that led police and SA Revenue Service (Sars) officers to link them to Delport. Exclusive Tobacco is one of Delport's 36 companies. Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay yesterday confirmed that, should the cigarettes be positively linked to Delport, the Kempton Park businessman could face further charges when he returns to court on April 4. Accused of running an international cigarette smuggling syndicate with his Rand Airport-based business, Phoebus Apollo Aviation - self-proclaimed "Lord of all things that fly" - Delport was at the receiving end of the Asset Forfeiture Unit's biggest raids last week. A staggering 125 vehicles - including Delport's private helicopter, three Land Rovers, a Jeep, a boat, a quadbike and a pair of jet-skis - were seized from 36 different companies linked to Delport's alleged crime ring. The seizure ran parallel to a criminal trial, now in its second year, where Delport - who is currently out on R500 000 bail - and his co-accused face more than 7 000 charges relating to smuggling and fraud. Thus far, 26 witnesses have testified in the complex case. A woman working at Nedbank and a Malawian customs official have already been convicted for assisting Delport and his alleged syndicate. If Delport and his co-accused - who include his brother André and right-hand man Christopher Pickard - are found guilty, all assets seized from them would be forfeited to the state.
WELL-known aviation industry businessman and multi-millionaire Hennie Delport lost a bid in the Pretoria Regional Court yesterday to have SA’s first racketeering case thrown out of court on the grounds that the state failed to make its case.
Magistrate Adriaan Bekker did, however, acquit five of the 13 accused, most of them Delport’s employees, because of lack of evidence against them. Among those acquitted were former South African Revenue Service (SARS) employee Hendrik van der Merwe and Delport’s brother Andre.
The remaining accused, including Delport, are vendors alleged by SARS to have claimed R250m in fraudulent value-added tax (VAT) and excise duties on cigarettes that were never exported. They have all pleaded not guilty.
One of the accused, former bank employee Lizanne Rogers , pleaded guilty to money laundering and reached a plea bargain with the state.
Delport, who owns cargo transporter Phoebus Apollo Aviation and cigarette factory Exclusive Tobacco Products, instituted SA’s first raid on SARS offices in 2002 in a civil case he brought against the taxman.
He alleged SARS and British American Tobacco were conspiring to jeopardise his business operations. The taxman in return has levelled 7000 charges against Delport and his co-accused and called 40 state witnesses, including customs officials from Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. More than 40000 exhibits have been handed in since 2004, when the case first went to court, and the Asset Forfeiture Unit has seized assets worth R70m.
Court-appointed curators from KPMG are based at Delport’s businesses to ensure that assets, including 10 light aircraft, vehicles and property, are not sold.
He was allowed to continue operating his businesses after a court battle.
SARS has accused Delport of forging documents to say he had exported cigarettes, as a way to get VAT returns. The cigarettes were then allegedly sold in SA.
The accused argue that the cigarettes were flown out of the country with the relevant airway bills, clearing papers and manifests.
Yesterday Bekker said he had examined the 7000 charges against each of the accused and ruled that the state had failed to prove its case in respect of the five people he acquitted.
In some cases there might be suspicions that crimes might have been committed, but that was not enough to continue the cases against them, Bekker said.
Yesterday lawyers for the remaining accused asked for a postponement to January to decide how to proceed.
Should the accused decide to testify, they can be cross-examined by the state.
I heard Phoebus Appollo finally began operation to Brazzaville but are in trouble for carrying pax to Lubumbashi on the way there. Apparently no traffic rights to FBM. Are they still operating to BZV? A friend was booked on Sunday but the flight was cancelled.
Flights to Lubumbashi were operated as a commercial agreement with Wimbi Dera, Wimbi Dera have in-turn done a deal with SA Express to get involved with their "Congo Express" operation. Since SA Express operate Wimbi Dera's other South African frequency Phoebus stopped operating after a month so as not to ruffle feathers. New designations to DRC have been opened up and will be heard sometime in January, SAA have requested more and so have Express, Phoebus requested 4 entries.
With Brazzaville, landing rights were only approved 3 months ago by the Congo authority, The plan was to link the 3 cities, Congo still needs to send inspectors to inspect the South African facilities.
West Africa is actually "Benin", direct competition to Interair but mainly operating out of Brazzaville with "Congo Airways"
Everybody knows that operating in africa takes time. The white man has the watch, but the congolese have all the time.
So to answer the question simple, No, Phoebus Apollo are not in trouble again.
Hey Highway Hennie, about 5 years ago didn't your chief pilot "fall off a ladder" and suffer two broken hands? Seemed a very very strange story at the time. Any truth that it was after a "quiet chat" with some of your "business partners"?
sorry ignatius, the geoff comment was answering your question,
fuzzy larger, must be many people out there that think you are a knob aswell, you just express your opinion were nobody will take you on about it,but who wants to get into a he said, she said debate.
I respect your opinion but let it go dude, must be along time ago.
8 years of consultants hasn't help so i don't think deloittes will, KPMG are the curators and they cant even get the VAT back from SARS for the last 3 years that they were in control, they were bought in by the High Court after SARS filed an application for it. (Go Figure)
All I am getting at is things have changed, the company is different and not everything revolves around a decade ago.
The case was never about "Tax Evasion" infact phoebus paid all the taxes and excise spoken about, SARS just dont want to give the Taxes back on goods exported, they just blanketly denied all claims and then arrested the people.
In South Africa, you are unable to fight a civil case against the state if you have been criminally charged, the case about the cigarette factory was finally heard in august 2009 more than 5 years after the factory was closed and the licence removed, the verdict is still not out after 3 and half months
I concede that it must be no fun fighting against a machine like SARS. They have unlimited resources, all the time in the world, the sympathy of the courts that ultimately get paid from their collections and the ability to effect changes to the law.
Getting VAT back has become a difficulty of late for those of us not fighting with SARS. It may be a while yet.