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14 April 2014 – SARS Enforcement and Customs Operations for March 2014

14 April 2014 – SARS Enforcement and Customs Operations for March 2014

Pretoria, 14 April 2014 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is providing an update to the media and the public on its operations to combat crimes such as smuggling, fraud and abuse of the tax system for the month of March 2014.
The aim is to inform the public about the work SARS’ Customs and Enforcement teams do on a daily basis, to provide an indication of the prevalence of tax and customs-related offences in South Africa, and to illustrate the support SARS provides to other law enforcement agencies.
Interventions to combat Fraud and Corruption
SARS will combat any form of corruption, fraud and abuse of the tax system. The following cases can be reported for March 2014:
  1. On 6 March 2014, Mr Mbom Pierre Celestin Yves was arrested on charges of allegedly submitting fraudulent Value Added Tax returns resulting in a potential loss to SARS of over R8 million. He was granted bail and the case was postponed. His accountant, Mr Seshin Naraidu, was arrested on 17 March and released on bail on 18 March on the same charges.
  2. On 11 March 2014 Mr Moses Afiki was arrested on charges of the illegal diversion of second-hand clothing (valued at R750 000). He was granted bail in the Johannesburg Regional Court and the matter will reappear in April 2014.
  3. On 27 March 2014 Mrs LJ Sharp was arrested in Port Elizabeth on charges of allegedly completing fraudulent tax returns on behalf of 54 individuals (all family, friends and colleagues), and was allegedly being paid between 10 and 30% of each (fraudulent) refund. Total refunds paid out to the individual taxpayers amounts to over R1.7 million, with Mrs Sharp allegedly receiving over R750 000 as a result. She was released on warning and the matter will continue in April.
Customs Interventions
In the period from 1 to 31 March 2014, SARS Customs and Enforcement teams have:
1. Prevented just over 22 kilos of cocaine (valued at over R6.4 million), over 23kg ephedrine / crystal methamphetamine (valued at just over R7 million) and over   7kg heroin (valued at just over R1.4 million) from entering the country. In all cases, the drugs seized and the individuals involved were handed over to the SAPS for further action. The drugs were seized in a number of different interventions, and included:

a. Over 7kg cocaine, valued at over R2 million, concealed in tinned food carried by a male passenger arriving in Johannesburg from Sao Paulo.
b. 5.5kg methamphetamine, valued at over R1.6 million, concealed in a parcel of clothes and accessories originating in India.
c. Almost 5kg heroin, valued at over R1 million, found in cargo arriving at Cape Town International from China in a parcel marked as “plastic bag samples”.
d. Over 4kg cocaine, valued at almost R1.2 million, found in unaccompanied luggage abandoned near the carousel where the baggage of a flight from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg was being collected.
e. 3.63kg liquid cocaine, valued at over R1 million, carried by a male passenger arriving in Johannesburg from Sao Paulo, concealed in shampoo bottles.
f. 3kg methamphetamine, valued at R900 000, concealed in stationery packs arriving in Johannesburg from India.
g. 2.7kg ephedrine, valued at over R800 000, concealed in a tin of soup in a parcel from the Netherlands to South Africa.
h. 2.7kg cocaine, valued at over R780 000, concealed in bed sheets carried by a female passenger arriving in Johannesburg from Sao Paulo.
i. 2.63kg cocaine, valued at over R750 000, found on a flight arriving in Johannesburg from Sao Paulo. The flight was searched before passengers disembarked and the cocaine was found in a body wrap under a seat next to a person of interest, who was handed to the SAPS.

2. Seized a number of other items coming into the country, including

a. 37 961 cartons of illicit cigarettes (over 7.6 million individual cigarettes), valued at over R7.5 million), with the brands seized including Remington Gold, Pacific Blue, Seville, Safari and GT.
b. Over 1200kg copper wire, concealed in trucks crossing into South Africa at the Beit Bridge border post
c. Over 2500 “male sexual enhancement” tablets, valued at over R250 000.
d. Over 150 dagga seeds, from European countries
e. 20 live scorpions, posted from Germany to Cape Town, which were detained for Nature Conservation officials
3. Prevented the following from leaving the country:
a. Almost 73.5kg cannabis, valued at over R100 000, mainly destined for the UK
b. 2 monkeys, being carried without permits by a Lesotho national leaving South Africa at the Van Rooyen’s Nek border post. They were detained for Nature Conservation officials

c. 276 dried seahorses, valued at R414 000, in a parcel destined for Hong Kong

d. 14.5kg dried abalone, valued at R19 500, destined for Hong Kong.

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