The leak of the Panama papers which shows how businessmen, politicians, celebrities and others hide their money in offshore tax havens has led to several big wigs frantically trying to defend their names.
One of the names found on the report was linked to the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. The president’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma was listed as one of the political power players who has letterbox companies in tax havens worth millions.
Opposition party, The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who have tirelessly advocated for the tightening of taxation laws to deal with tax avoidance are particularly concerned with the information on the Panama Papers. they advocate for the South African government to make tax avoidance illegal and that perpetrators, be they individual or companies, be made to face imprisonment.
The EFF required of the Finance Minister, the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) and South Africa Revenue Bank to investigate breach of exchange controls and taxation administration legislation by Mr. Zuma and his family members who are deemed determined to loot state resources.
The South African Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan particularly welcomed the papers saying, “the world is systemically narrowing the scope for those who want to hide their offshore assets and avoid paying their taxes due to the South African fiscus”
Holding funds in an offshore bank is “by itself not illegal, as long as the necessary approvals and disclosures have been made to the relevant authorities”, he said in a statement.
Khulubuse’s involvement in the scandal shows that he had connections to a company which garnered a multi-billion Rand deal in the Democratic republic of Congo.
Khulubuse’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize said the information contained in the Panama papers “do not allege that Khulubuse holds an offshore bank account, when in actual fact he does not. All the report alleges is that he is associated with a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.”
Mkhize also noted that it is not news flash to South Africans that Mr. Khulubuse Zuma is associated with Caprikat Limited.