R15m worth of illicit alcohol seized from Mpumalanga warehouse
A total of 12,700 cases of duty-free liquor worth R15m have been seized from a Mpumalanga warehouse by SA Revenue Service (Sars) officials and police.
According to a Sars statement, a year-long investigation revealed the illicit alcohol was being sold back onto the market.
“Sars and police officials also found equipment to alter the original products.
“The bottles and boxes in which they are transported have labels indicating the product is duty-free and therefore destined for the foreign market.
“However, the smugglers of these products removed the labels from the bottles and replaced them, in some cases replacing the caps of the bottles and removing the lot codes from the boxes,” said Sars.
Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter said smugglers of 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.”