Cops rearrest tax fraudster

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A convicted fraudster and fishing company owner, who gave police the runaround after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud in April 2017 and did not show up for sentencing, appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday.
John Brandon Hooke, 40, was on the run after he pleaded guilty to defrauding the taxman of more than R500,000 through submitting false VAT claim forms which totalled more than R1,2m for a family business he ran, Across Africa Freight (Pty) Ltd.
Hooke inflated the amounts claimed from Sars, with the money paid into a bank account he was signatory to.
Both Hooke and his business Khawuleza Marine (Pty) Ltd, of which he was the sole director, are named as accused in the charge sheet before court.
Hooke allegedly used the same modus operandi with Khawuleza and defrauded Sars of nearly R95,000.
After pleading guilty in April 2017, Hooke absconded from attending his sentencing proceedings and a warrant for his arrest was issued in August 2017.
After nearly 20 months on the run, Hooke was found in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal, and transferred back to Port Elizabeth on February 8.
He has been in custody since.
On Wednesday, prosecutor Wilhelm de Villiers told the court that he was still waiting for transcripts from the trial before he could go ahead with sentencing proceedings.
“Unfortunately the transcripts are still not ready.
“There has been an indication that they will definitely be done by Monday but hopefully by Friday,” De Villiers said.
Magistrate Hannes Claassen postponed the matter to Friday...

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