Sars makes U-turn and drops lawsuit against Koko’s wife

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has made an embarrassing U-turn and abandoned its legal action to recoup R49-million from former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko’s wife Mosima.

Sars had applied for a judgment against Mosima in the Joburg high court last year, claiming that she owed it the dizzying amount.

But this week, it somersaulted and withdrew the suit against Mosima, a move that has the potential to give credence that the Kokos were targeted by state machinations.

Mosima’s victory comes weeks after her husband Matshela also got the criminal case against him thrown out of court.

In the notice of withdrawal filed at the Johannebsurg High Court on Friday, Sars said it was throwing in the towel as Mosima did not owe the tax collector a dime as per its claim.

“In terms of the Tax Administration Act, the SA Revenue Service hereby withdraws the certified statement filed in respect of Mosima Elizabeth Koko issued on behalf of the commissioner of Sars,” reads the brief withdrawal notice.

The withdrawal comes after Sars, amid much excitement, had in February last year slapped Mosima Koko with a devastating R48-million tax bill.

At the time, Sars even threatened to attach her properties to recoup the money it claimed was due to it.

In April last year, Sars sent to Mosima a “final demand” letter claiming she owed R49.4-million in unpaid taxes for an unspecified number of years.

Mosima was at the time ordered to “make full payment” within 10 days after the final demand letter or make arrangements to pay in instalments if she was unable to pay the multi-million rand bill at once.

Sars had gone on to threaten her: “Failure to make full payment or use the above remedies may result in the following actions and possibly others.

“Sars may appoint any third party who presently or in the future will owe you money or hold money for you to settle your tax debt with this money; a civil judgment being entered against you in which case a warrant of execution may be issued for the sheriff of the court to attach and sell your assets.”

Mosima had stuck to her guns and battled it out with Sars in court.

More than a year later after the legal wrangle, the tax collector threw in the towel this week.

Koko, speaking for the family, said they were elated by the latest development which was Christmas coming early to the Kokos.

“My wife has always maintained that she did not owe Sars a cent from the made-up tax bill and the ridiculous figure they were claiming,” said Koko.

“This was nothing but part of the plot that I have long characterised as the Koko hunt which extended to my family members.

“I have warned that state agencies must stop following people but to follow the evidence. Just a few weeks ago the criminal case against me also collapsed because they were not following evidence. The sad thing is that this unwarranted Koko hunt has come at a great cost to my family, emotionally, financially and otherwise. For the first time in many years we will enjoy the December holidays without stressing about the Koko hunt.”

Koko is now left with one more hurdle, that of reviewing and setting aside the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture findings against him.

On Friday he filed a supplementary affidavit insisting that Zondo “was blinded by the Koko hunt” and ignored all evidence that should have cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Among other issues Koko raises in the affidavit, is that the commission was misguided to pin the rejection of Glencore-owned Optimum Coal Mine’s (OCM) demands to increase coal price after the company failed to do due diligence before buying the mine.

“The evidence before the commission shows that Glencore was the author of its misery. I cannot be blamed for Eskom’s decision not to agree to Glencore and OCM’s demand for an increase in the coal-base price. The hunt for Koko blinded the commission.”

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