26 May 2022 – The Illicit Trade Unit (ITU) of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in Durban has clamped down on an importer of 20 containers of sugar that were declared as containing rice, which is duty free.
However, after verification and inspection of the identified containers it was established that the consignments were falsely declared in order to escape paying the Customs duties for the sugar.
In a second incident, the ITU in Durban detained five containers that were imported by a known tyre company. It was suspected that the importer had mis-declared the goods in order to avoid paying the correct Customs duties and to comply with the International Trade Administration Council (ITAC) permit requirements.
According to the Customs declaration, the containers were classified as rim and tyres, which does not attract any duties. An inspection was conducted at a licensed depot and the containers were found to contain tyres which attracts 30% duty, an environment levy and which require an ITAC permit.
In a third incident, the ITU team in Gauteng received information about 21 containers imported by several importers and which were suspected to have been mis-declared as steel pipes, furniture, toys, and articles of plastics.
The 21 containers were detained and inspected and it was discovered that of the 21 containers only 3 containers were declared correctly, with 18 containers being falsely declared. Instead of steel pipes, furniture, toys and articles of plastics as declared by the clearing agent, 18 containers were found to contain fabric rolls, pile fabric that is used to manufacture blankets, blanket making machinery as well as possible counterfeit goods. SARS will be pursuing potential criminal charges for all above false and misleading declarations.
The SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter expressed his gratitude to the members of the Illicit Trade Unit for their tireless work. He issued a stern warning to traders who are engaged in non-compliant behaviour, which borders on criminality. He said, “SARS is improving its capability and capacity to detect non-compliant behaviour, and will continue to make it hard and costly for those that have opted to resort to criminality. Those who voluntarily engages in criminality would have to accept the consequences of their choices”.
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