Taxing times for tenderpreneur? Edwin Sodi slapped with R400m tax bill
The taxman is in hot pursuit of controversial businessman Edwin Sodi with an eyewatering tax bill of R400 million.
Tenderpreneur Edwin Sodi has a R400 million tax bill to pay or face the seizure of some assets. The tenderpreneur held his 50th birthday bash in his R100m Bryanston mansion last year. Photos: and Instagram
Politically connected tenderpreneur and Bryanston businessman Edwin Sodi appears to be still living the high life despite being implicated in a string of botched tenders.
The deadly cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal in May 2023 cast the spotlight on Sodi who failed to deliver on his R295-million tender contract to upgrade and refurbish the ageing infrastructure of Tshwane’s Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant.
SIU probe and blacklisting?
President Cyril Ramaphosa finally gave the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) the green light to investigate the tender. This was followed by Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink’s promise of blacklisting Sodi’s companies from doing business with the city.
The Citizen, however, recently reported that NJR Projects and Blackhead Consulting, of which Sodi is the CEO, still fail to appear on the National Treasury’s register of restricted suppliers and remain “blacklist-free”.
The most recent allegations against the tenderpreneur, according to News24, suggest the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements paid Sodi’s company R134 million for a Diepsloot housing project in 2013… without a single house having been built.
Then there is the much-delayed asbestos tender fraud case for which the flamboyant businessman faces charges of corruption, money laundering and theft.
Taxman cometh for Sodi
But can the state-capture accused Sodi – who allegedly parties it up every now and again with Deputy President Paul Mashatile – escape the long arm of the taxman?
According to a City Press report, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) issued a final letter of demand to the businessman last week, threatening to seize his assets if he fails to pay his outstanding tax debt of more than R400 million.
The revenue collector gave Sodi 10 business days to respond to its demand for R408 071 575.71 to be exact.
High court order to render estate executable
The letter also states that if the tenderpreneur fails to agree on a payment structure or settle the amount in full, Sars will seek an order from the high court to render his estate executable.
“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,” the letter continued.
Frozen and seized assets nothing new for Sodi
This wouldn’t be the first time that Sodi’s assets have been seized.
In 2020, assets worth R300 million were frozen by the Assets Forfeiture Unit (AFU) pending the outcome of the 2014 asbestos tender fraud case against Sodi and Ace Magashule.
At the time, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) seized 29 vehicles, 27 properties, 19 active accounts and household goods belonging to Sodi as Blackhead Consulting director.
The fleet of luxury cars that were seized, included the flashy businessman’s Ferrari, valued at around R3 million and a Bentley worth more than R3 million.
Lavish 50th birthday bash in Bryanston mansion
In September last year, Sodi, however, celebrated his 50th birthday party – complete with a display of fireworks and champagne flowing like water – at his seized R100 million Bryanston mega-mansion.
This despite the property being part of the assets worth R300 million frozen by the AFU in 2020 pending the outcome of the high-profile R225-million asbestos tender fraud case against Sodi and former ANC secretary-general and Free State premier Ace Magashule.
The much-delayed trial – which has been on pre-trial roll for two years – is set to take place from 15 April to 23 June 2024.
Forfeiture of seized properties only if Sodi is convicted
In reaction to the widespread outcry on social media regarding Sodi’s Bryanston birthday bash, NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the house, along with other properties owned by the businessman, would only be forfeited to the state should Sodi be convicted.
“The wife was occupying the house, in agreement with curators. We have put caveats on properties on condition that they can occupy the houses and insure them but not sell them. All immovable properties are paid up. We have a R300m restraint order in place pending the finalisation of the criminal case.
“In essence, all restrained properties can only be forfeited to the state after conviction.”
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