SARS intercepts R90m drug substances

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has in the past two days intercepted drug trafficking valued at R90 million at the OR Tambo International Airport.

In a statement, SARS said the substances intercepted included Acetanthranil – a substance used or linked to manufacturing Mandrax – that weighted 1 600kg and another 1 581kg, respectively.

“The South African Police Service (SAPS) Forensic Services Laboratory (FSL) confirmed the substance with an estimated street value of R90 million,” the revenue collector said in the statement.

SARS handed over the consignments to SAPS for further investigations.

In another incident at ORTIA last Friday, a consignment of 241 920 sexual enhancement tablets, valued at R24 192 000.00, were intercepted during inspection.  The goods were handed over to Port Health for further investigation.

“In Durban early last week, a foreign national who had offered a bribe of R200 000 to a SARS Customs officer appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court. The suspect had intended to use the bribe to have a detained truck and its load of alcohol, Customs & Excise Duties on the alcohol was R1 200 000.00, released,” SARS spokesperson Sicelo Mkosi said.  

At the time of the arrest, the suspect was in possession of a false invoice, alleging that the alcohol had been supplied by a known Gauteng-based liquor chain store.

“Upon further enquiry, the suspect failed to provide a reasonable explanation or evidence of where the load of alcohol had been obtained. As a result, the officers issued the suspect with a Letter of Intent to seize both the truck and the load,” Mkosi said.

He said while no country is immune to these crimes, SARS, as the agency responsible for revenue collection, will always be a target for criminals.

“Tackling corruption effectively is imperative for SARS as we continue on our journey to rebuild trust. As such, the Customs officer at Durban who refused the bribe is commended for having headed the call not to be corrupted,” he said. –