Tax fraud charges have been reinstated against suspected gang boss Shaun Ah Shene, just five months after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) opted to withdraw the criminal case.
Ah Shene, 50, was summoned to appear in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court yesterday, where he was again formally charged with defrauding the South African Revenue Service (SARS) out of about R2.1-million.
Ah Shene and his business, Coral Blue Trading CC, face eight counts of fraud over a period of six years.
Specialist senior state advocate Elna Smit, of East London, was in Port Elizabeth yesterday to head the prosecution.
Following a brief court appearance, the case was postponed to August 24 for a pre-trial conference, after which a trial date will be arranged.
Ah Shene, the alleged founder of Port Elizabeth’s oldest northern areas gang, the Ah Shenes, also known as “The Chinas”, was arrested almost two years ago during a dramatic raid by the Hawks on his Adcockvale family home.
His assets – including 21 investment accounts, 13 properties in North End, Kensington, Sydenham, Bethelsdorp and Korsten, as well as an undisclosed amount of cash held in the trust account of Dullabh & Co Attorneys in Grahamstown – were then placed in the hands of a curator pending the outcome of the criminal trial.
Should he be convicted of the offences, the Asset Forfeiture Unit will then launch a confiscation application to have the property finally forfeited to the state so that SARS can be reimbursed.
But in February, Ah Shene was granted a brief reprieve when he was told in the Port Elizabeth High Court that the DPP had opted to withdraw the charges provisionally.
But his joy was short-lived, the matter being placed back on the roll just five months later.
It is alleged that he defrauded the taxman through Coral Blue Trading by submitting false tax returns to SARS and under-declaring his income between July 2003 and March 2009.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in Grahamstown, Advocate Selvan Gounden, previously described Smit, who has more than 20 years’ experience, as an expert and one of the best in her field.
Ah Shene, a father of four, is no stranger to run-ins with the law, having been arrested for offences from murder to perlemoen poaching, but never convicted.