Pretoria 7 November 2013 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) can confirm the arrest today of seven Customs officials on suspicion of involvement in incidents of robbery and extortion against businesses owned by foreign nationals in Johannesburg. Two members of the SAPS were also arrested today in relation to the same investigation.
Two other SAPS officials and three other SARS officials were already arrested on 20 October 2013 for attempted extortion and remain in custody.
It appears that the syndicate obtained information about foreign business people who held large amounts of cash and who may have acted illegally. The suspects would allegedly extract further information about the targets from the SARS and SAPS systems.
During the unauthorised “raids”, the suspects would confuse and intimidate the target with allegations of criminal activity. It is in this manner that they would allegedly extort cash out of the targeted business people. Foreign nationals who resist would be threatened with arrest.
The Acting Commissioner of SARS, Mr Ivan Pillay, said: “SARS welcomes the investigation of corrupt elements within its ranks. To that end, over the years, we have created a special capability to combat corruption which has a proven record. In this case, as in other cases, SARS works closely with all law enforcement agencies. SARS would like to assure the public that it views criminality amongst its staff very seriously.”
The suspects are expected to appear in court on Friday 8th November 2013. It is anticipated that they will face charges that include corruption, extortion, robbery and defeating the ends of justice.
Internal disciplinary processes will be pursued by SARS against the implicated officials.
Anyone with information about this case or any other incident should contact the SARS Anti-Corruption Hotline toll free on 0800 00 2870, or complete an anonymous online suspicious-activity report form at https://secure.sarsefiling.co.za/AdHocCaseSourcing.