South Africa 29.12.2014 12:30 pm

Illicit cigarettes, ivory found at border post

Picture: AFP

Picture: AFP

Illicit cigarettes and ivory were found at border posts with South Africa’s neighbours over the past week, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) said on Monday.

Contraband cigarettes valued at over R770,000 were seized at the Beit Bridge border post with Zimbabwe on December 22, spokeswoman Marika Muller said in a statement.

A Sars official was conducting random checks of trucks coming into South Africa from Zimbabwe. He recognised one which had crossed into Zimbabwe a few days previously, declared as empty, and which was now returning, still declared empty. However, the truck’s body appeared different.

“Checks confirmed the body had been newly painted and it appeared that a number of panels had been replaced.

“The vehicle’s refrigerator system was also not functioning. The vehicle was taken back to the Zimbabwean side of the border to be scanned, and on the basis of those images as well as the initial suspicions, a decision was taken to cut it open. The cigarettes were found in a false compartment.”

On December 23, 5.2kg of ivory valued at over R16,000 was found concealed in the engine compartment of a bus crossing into South Africa from Zimbabwe.

And at the Skilpadshek border post with Botswana, contraband cigarettes with a value of over R360,000 were seized on December 25. The cigarettes were concealed in a compartment in a truck crossing into South Africa.


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