Pretoria, 27 July 2015 – South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials and members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) discovered 14 000 boxes of illegal alcohol at a bottle store in Pretoria’s Marabastad area on Friday 24 July.
Despite initial denials by the owner of the bottle store that any alcohol was stored in the backyard, officials discovered brands such as Smirnoff, Jameson, Bols, Harrier, KWV, Wellington, Klipdrift, Cape Hope, Johnny Walker Black and Red – with a retail value of around R2 125 200.
The goods were subsequently detained and removed to the state warehouse. Criminal investigations are to be undertaken by the SAPS as it is alleged that the alcohol was stolen.
In a separate incident on Friday 24 July 2015 SARS officials at the Ficksburg border post with Lesotho stopped a truck carrying 129 bales of blankets. It was discovered that the importer had falsified the declaration, claiming it was ladies shoes. The goods on the truck were detained and will possibly be forfeited to the State, pending further investigation by SARS’s Criminal Investigation division.
These busts are significant and follow a spate of recent seizures by SARS as a result of programmes implemented following the appointment of SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane, which amongst others, have resulted in improving systems, process enhancements and a renewed commitment to combating organised crime and illicit trade activities.
Some of these programmes include the SARS modernisation programme which focusses on installing sophisticated technology to ensure automated, electronically managed processes to ensure for a seamless, customer-focussed service and engagement with SARS and the upskilling of staff to deal with the threat of the illicit economy and illicit financial flows. SARS will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime.