Monday May 20, 2019

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Police Sra foil E1.1 Cigarettes Smuggling

Police and Members of the Swaziland Revenue Authority nabbed two truck drivers trying to smuggle 1 150 000 boxes of cigarettes through Mhlumeni Boarder Post.

The street value of the cigarettes is about E1.1 million and government could have lost could have lost about E750 000 in taxes and duties due to the smuggling of this consignment.

The incident happdened in January 23 2013.

The trucks had successfully crossed the Mozambican border and were now checking in at the Swazi border when police and SRA officials

discovered the cigarettes. Actually the police got a tip off from reliable sources about a cover up plan which was meant to smuggle the consignment through into the country.

It is suspected that the destination for the cigarettes was Durban, South Africa, however, there were possibility that the cigarettes were also meant for local black market.

The manner in which the cigarettes were hidden was described as ‘sophisticated’ by Sergeant Casper Simelane, who is based at the border.

"Underneath the trailers, planks were used to create a space for hiding the boxes of the cigarettes. This has never been seen before," he said.

The trucks arrived at the border at 4am, something which raised suspicions among the border staff, because trucks usually cross during the day.

The trucks were inspected and found to belong to a company called Solly Transport, which operates between Mozambique and Durban.

Police Deputy Public Relations Officer (PRO), Inspector Khulani Mamba, commended the police together with SRA staff for what he called a major breakthrough.

"Cigarette smuggling is a growing crime in Southern Africa. So one would like to commend the public for blowing the whistle and further commend the police and SRA staff for responding promptly to the tip-off," he said.

The police deputy spokesperson also shared the same sentiments with Sergeant Simelane that the manner in which the cigarettes were hidden was sophisticated.

He said this shows that the smuggling of cigarettes was being conducted by a syndicate.

Meanwhile, previous records indicate that it was not the first time a truck from the same company had been busted with illegal goods.

Sergeant Simelane disclosed that a truck from the same company was nabbed with clothes hidden under chairs sometime in 2010.

About half the cigarettes confiscated are counterfeit and are possibly harmful to consumers.

Reading from one volume of the cigarettes, the cigarettes were manufactured in Tanzania but may also come from Zimbabwe.

There were two types of cigarettes that were found: Pacific and Aspen. The Aspen type is counterfeit and is prohibited in Swaziland because of its harmful substances.

Cigarette smuggling is on the increase and about 30 billion cigarettes are smuggled into South Africa every year.

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