The South African Revenue Service (SARS), in partnership with the South African Police Service and liquor industry, has slammed the brakes on a Mpumalanga warehouse allegedly trading illicit liquor valued at R15 million.
In a statement on Tuesday, the revenue collector said the warehouse recycled the duty-free liquor back on the market.
More than 12 700 cases of duty-free liquor were found at the scene and seized following a year long investigation.
SARS and SAPS officials also found equipment to alter the original products.
“The bottles and the boxes in which they are transported have labels indicating that the product is duty free and therefore destined for the foreign market.
“However, the smugglers of these products removed these labels from the bottles and replace them, in some cases replacing the caps of the bottles and removing the lot codes from the boxes,” said the revenue collector.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said smugglers of the illicit liquor were “harming the local industry at a time when COVID-19 restrictions were obviously a significant impediment to the industry”.
“Such criminal action will not be tolerated but confronted, and all those involved in this smuggling network will be brought to book. SARS has the mandate to combat illicit trade and such activity is clearly illicit and unfair competition for the local industry.
“We are committed to making it hard and costly for any taxpayer or trader who does not comply with the tax or customs laws of the country. Therefore, I want to acknowledge and thank the investigators for their determination and persistence in this matter,” said the Commissioner.
Source: South African Government News Agency