SARS Seize Illegal Cigarettes, Hookah-Pipe Tobacco & Scrap Metal worth R40-Million

South African Revenue Services (SARS) and other law enforcement officials have seized illegal cigarettes, hookah-pipe tobacco and scrap metal worth  R40-million.

SARS Customs officials with the support of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) carried out the operation 

The illegal cigarettes declared as ceramic mugs and adhesive tape were detected at the Durban harbour and in Polokwane where officials also discovered a consignment of illicit scrap metal on a truck which entered the country via the Beit Bridge border post – four suspects have been arrested. 

The 432 boxes of hookah-pipe tobacco was detected in City Deep and was declared as sugar molasses being warehoused for export to Malawi, however, information indicated that the tobacco was intended for distribution on the local market.

SARS says the seized cigarettes include RG, Remington Gold and foreign brands not for sale in South Africa. 

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said the revenue service uses modernised systems for risk detection and identification of suspicious cargo.

“The use of the latest technology, big data, algorithms and machine learning to detect and deter non-compliance is one of our strategic objectives and falls within our mission to build a smart, modern SARS that is admired and trusted.” 

Kieswetter says Sars will deal harshly with wilful non-compliance and criminal activity

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