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7 June 2013 – SARS Enforcement and Customs Operations for April 2013

7 June 2013 – SARS Enforcement and Customs Operations for April 2013

SARS Enforcement and Customs Operations for April 2013

Pretoria, 7 June 2013 – 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 April 2013.

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 April 2013:

  1. On 18 April, Mr Edmund Fredericks (a former SARS employee) and Mr Aaron Carelse were found guilty on charges of fraud, forgery, racketeering and money laundering. They were involved in a VAT and Income Tax return scam, claiming fraudulent refunds to the value of R1.5 million.
  2. On 22 April, Mr S Bareng pleaded guilty to 3 counts of fraud in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court. Refunds due to 3 taxpayers (worth R280 000) were paid into his bank account after banking details were fraudulently changed. As part of the plea agreement, Mr Bareng will repay SARS R120 000 which he had withdrawn from his account prior to being arrested. The matter was postponed to 25 July for sentencing.
  3. On 24 April, Mrs A Naude (a former SARS employee), Mr R Naude (her son) and Mr A Fourie were all found guilty of fraud in the Roodepoort Regional Court. Mr Naude, employed at a private accounting firm, changed banking details with the assistance of his mother. SARS paid R28 846 into Mr Fourie’s bank account, which he then withdrew. The case has been postponed for sentencing until 29th June 2013. Mrs Naude had already been found guilty by a SARS disciplinary process for her part in planning and commissioning the fraud, and was dismissed as a result.
  4. Two former SARS employees were arrested in Johannesburg on 24 and 25 April and are facing 59 charges of fraud and theft involving a loss to SARS of R145 000. As SARS employees they had made and processed false travel refund claims, despite being office-bound staff. The case was postponed for sentencing.

Customs Interventions

In the period from 1 to 30 April 2013, SARS Customs teams have:

Prevented just over 63 kilos of narcotics (nearly 29kg cocaine, 35kg “tik” and ephedrine, and 1.5kg heroin) valued at over R19 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 17 different interventions, and included:

  1. 15.68kg crystal meth, valued at over R4.7 million, hidden in cotton reels in the luggage of a female passenger travelling to Johannesburg from Delhi via Abu Dhabi.
    • 13.5kg crystal meth, valued at over R4 million, hidden in the luggage of a female passenger travelling to Johannesburg from Delhi via Abu Dhabi.
    • 5.63kg crystal meth, valued at just under R1.7 million, hidden in cotton reels in the luggage of a female passenger travelling to Johannesburg from Delhi via Mumbai.
    • 5.6kg cocaine, valued at R1.5 million, concealed in the luggage of a female passenger arriving at Cape Town International from Dubai

      3.025kg cocaine, valued at just over R870 000, concealed in an envelope in the luggage of a male passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg

    • 3kg cocaine, valued at just over R860 000, concealed in the linings of jackets in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Dakar via Johannesburg
    • 2.7kg cocaine, valued at over R770 000, hidden in laptop bags carried in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Maputo via Johannesburg
    • 2kg cocaine, valued at just over R575 000, hidden in 3 tins of jam in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg via Doha.
    • 2kg cocaine, valued at just over R575 000, in a false compartment of a suitcase belonging to a male passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg
    • 1.955kg cocaine, valued at over R560 000, concealed in a body wrap in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg.
    • 1.9kg cocaine, valued at just over R540 000, found in a body wrap worn by a male passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg
    • 1.75kg cocaine, worth just over R500 000, found in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg
    • 1.5kg heroin, valued at just over R300 000, concealed in handbags in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from Mumbai to Johannesburg
    • 1.4kg cocaine, valued at just over R400 000, concealed in a false compartment in luggage belonging to a female passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg
    • 1.35kg cocaine, valued at just under R390 000, as clothes soaked in liquid cocaine, in a parcel from Argentina to Johannesburg.
    • 1.1kg cocaine, valued at just over R320 000, concealed in the luggage of a male passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg.
    • 1kg cocaine, worth just over R280 000, concealed as 107 swallowed bullets in the abdomen of a male passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg. He was identified for further questioning and x-rays revealed the bullets.
  2. Stopped 26 222 “Viagra” tablets, valued at over R2.6 million, coming through the ports of entry (mainly sent in parcels from India to South African addresses).
  3. Detained 1302 master cases and 4679 cartons of cigarettes, with a total value of over R10.2 million which were being smuggled into the country, in seizures including:
    • On 4 April, 190 master cases of illicit cigarettes, valued at over R1.1 million, were seized in a joint operation with the SAPS and traffic police when the truck they were being transported in was stopped on the road from the Vioolsdrift border post.
    • On 7 April, 230 cartons of illicit cigarettes, valued at over R76 000, were seized at the Kopfontein border post.
      c. On 18 April, SARS Detector Dog “Shocks”, working at the Groblersbrug border post with Botswana, identified two separate shipments of illicit cigarettes (a total of 586 cartons,  valued at over R110 000) concealed in the interior panels of vehicles crossing into South Africa.
    • On 25 April, 782 Master Cases of illicit cigarettes, valued at over R5 million, were found concealed under bags of Maize in two trailers attached to a truck crossing into South Africa at the Groblersbrug border post. It is the biggest seizure of illicit cigarettes at this border post.
    • On 27 April, in a joint operation between SARS Customs and the SAPS, 330 Master Cases of illicit cigarettes, valued at over R3.1 million, were found in false compartments in a refrigerated container truck at Kopfontein border post. The driver was arrested.
    • On 27 and 28 April, in joint operations between SARS Customs and the SANDF on the border line between South Africa (Limpopo province) and Zimbabwe, a total of 3863 cartons of illicit cigarettes, with a value of R737 833 were confiscated in 4 different actions.
  4. Prevented36kg of dagga (in multiple seizures), valued at over R52 000, and 2.4kg hashish, valued at over R200 000, from leaving the country (in parcels to addresses in the United Kingdom).

    (SARS Drug Detector Dog ‘Caesar’ who was responsible for one of the dagga seizures)

  5. Seized a number of other items coming into the country, including 1100 steroid ampoules, sent from China to South Africa, with a value of over R1.3 million.

ENDS.

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