A Durban woman who turned to the High Court to appeal a 10-year jail term has been dealt a blow.
Convicted fraudster Sharitha Hariram, 57, was convicted of fraud and theft amounting to over R2.7million in September 2020.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) she was sentenced to an effective 10 years behind bars.
However, Hariram turned to the High Court to appeal her sentence.
This week she was a dealt a blow.
According to provincial NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the Durban High Court (Appeal Court) dismissed the appeal and confirmed the 10 years imprisonment.
Explaining the case, Ramkisson-Kara said Hariram was granted special authority to represent racehorse owners who were not registered for VAT (Value Added Tax).
“This permitted her to register as a VAT vendor and submit a combined VAT return to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) on behalf of the racehorse owners under her registration,” Ramkisson-Kara said.
“During the VAT periods of October 2011 to August 2012 where she submitted to the SARS, she made fraudulent claims for VAT allegedly expended by these racehorse owners to the value of over R2 million,” she said.
“In addition, she did not pay two racehorse owners a sum of over R700,000 which was refunded by the SARS.”
Hariram was arrested after SARS conducted an intensive investigation that detected the crimes.
“Investigations also revealed that a few racehorse owners mentioned by Hariram did not exist, while others did not incur the VAT expense as claimed by her.”
At the time of her sentencing, the court granted Hariram leave to appeal.
Senior State Advocate Selvan Govender represented the state in both the trial and appeal proceedings.
The NPA said it welcomed the findings of the appeal court.
“Offences of this nature hurt the country’s fiscus. The prejudice suffered by the SARS could have been used by the government to finance its social, infrastructural, and economic responsibilities. We trust that this sentence will have the necessary deterrent effect on like-minded people.”