Thu. Oct 21st, 2021

A multi-agency enforcement team made up of SARS, the police and Johannesburg Metro police members busted an unregistered tobacco manufacturing plant during a search and seizure operation in Gauteng on Friday, 17 September.

SARS BUST ILLICT TOBACCO OPERATIONS IN JHB

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) said the plant produced molasses (shisha tobacco products also known as “flavour”) and it is linked to a specific licensed cigarette manufacturer through the brand of tobacco products found on the premises.

“The manufacturing plant with all machines and molasses were detained for further investigations in terms of tax and customs legislation,” read a SARS statement.

The enforcement team also raided three shops in Fordsburg that they suspected of selling illicit tobacco products. The authorities found 1337 cartons of illicit molasses along with illicit cigarettes with an estimated value of R400 000.

“The goods were detained and removed pending production of import / local purchase documentation, quantity verification and further investigation on whether the correct taxes were paid to SARS,” read the statement.

During the raid, one of the shop owners reportedly attempted to bribe a SARS official with approximately R30 000 “to make the case go away.” The shop owner was subsequently arrested and charged with attempted bribery by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said the revenue service is committed to making life difficult and costly for non-compliant traders and taxpayers. According to Kieswetter, non-compliance, trade in illicit goods and criminal activities destroy the economy and leads to job losses.

“Most importantly these criminal activities reduce the revenue that SARS collects so as to enable the government to render basic services to the poor and vulnerable such as old age grants, schools, clinics and a vaccine roll-out programme to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Kieswetter.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *