SARS Enforcement and Customs Operations for May 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 May 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 May 2013:
- On 16 May, Mr N. Molibeli (a former SARS Customs Inspector) was sentenced to a fine of R50 000 or 5 years imprisonment by the Belville Specialise Crimes Court after pleading guilty to charges of corruption. This followed an internal SARS investigation into allegations that he had solicited a bribe from an importer for a consignment to be released. He was found guilty and dismissed, and was then arrested on 15 October 2012.
- On 23 May, Mr E Fredericks (a former SARS employee who resigned in 2010) and Mr A Carelse, were sentenced in the Cape Town High Court to 10 years imprisonment on racketeering charges, and 15 years on fraud charges. The sentences will run concurrently. As previously reported, the two were convicted on 18 April 2013 after a joint investigation by SARS and SAPS into a VAT and Income Tax scam.
- On 23 May, Ms D. Nkabinde was sentenced to 3 years in jail (wholly suspended for 5 years) by the Johannesburg Magistrates Court after being found guilty of fraudulently receiving taxpayer refunds (having changed their banking details to her own). She was also ordered to repay the full amount (over R9000) to SARS.
In the period from 1 to 31 May 2013, SARS Customs teams have:
- Prevented just over 84 kilos of narcotics (nearly 81kg cocaine, 3kg “tik” and ephedrine) valued at almost R24 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 27 different interventions, and included:
- Just over 15kg cocaine, worth just over R4.3 million, found concealed in the luggage of a female passenger entering South Africa through the Beit Bridge border post. SARS Drug Detector Dogs reacted to her luggage, and the drugs were found concealed in 90 cotton reels.
- 11kg cocaine, worth just over R3 million, found concealed in cotton reels in the luggage of a female passenger entering South Africa through the Beit Bridge border post.
- 10kg cocaine, worth just over R2.8 million, concealed in the luggage of a male passenger travelling from Peru via Sao Paulo to Johannesburg. SARS Drug Detector Dog Caesar reacted to unclaimed luggage, and the drugs were found in cosmetic and food containers.
- 4kg liquid cocaine, worth just over R1 million, concealed in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg. SARS Drug Detector Dogs Spirit and Eddie reacted to the luggage, and the drugs were found in 4 shampoo bottles.
- Almost 4kg cocaine, worth just over R1 million, concealed in the luggage of a male passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Windhoek via Johannesburg. The drugs were concealed in fruit hidden in the luggage.
- Over 3kg cocaine, worth over R900 000, concealed in the luggage of a female passenger travelling from India to South Africa via Malawi, at the Beit Bridge border post. SARS Drug Detector Dog Milo, reacted to her luggage, and the drugs were found concealed in cotton reels.
- Just over 3kg cocaine, worth almost R900 000, carried in a bodywrap by a male passenger travelling from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg.
- 3kg methamphetamine (“tik”), worth R900 000, concealed in unaccompanied luggage which had travelled from Singapore to Johannesburg via Dubai.
- Stopped 4024 “Viagra” tablets, valued at over R400 000, coming through the ports of entry (mainly sent in parcels from India to South African addresses).
- Prevented just over 35kg of dagga (in 17 seizures), valued at over R50 000, from leaving the country (in parcels to addresses mainly in the United Kingdom).
- Seized a number of other items coming into the country, including
- A dead monkey, found in unaccompanied luggage arriving at OR Tambo from Congo. It has been seized for CITES investigations.
- 7 diamonds, undeclared, found in a parcel from India – they have been seized for the Diamond Board.
- 10 000 poppy seeds sent, undeclared, from the USA to an address in the Western Cape. They have been seized for further investigations.
- Microsoft Windows software CDs, worth R2 million, sent in an undeclared parcel from the USA, which have been stopped for further checks.
- 1000 packs of an antihistamine medication (“cyproheptadine”), worth over R400 000, hidden in a truck entering South Africa from Botswana at the Groblersbrug border post.
- Prevented the following from leaving the country:
- 234.8kg perlemoen, valued at R1.8 million, seized at the Maseru Bridge Border Post export section, in a joint operation with the SAPS.
- 3 blacklisted cellphones, in a parcel destined for India. They have been handed to the police for further investigation.