Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Zimbabwean driver fined R1 million by South African court

by Staff reporter
12 Feb 2023 at 07:36hrs | Views
A 28-year-old Zimbabwean man has been fined R1 million by a South African court for smuggling a contraband of cigarettes worth R1,7 million in a commercial truck last year.

The accused, Pathisani Khumalo, was arrested in September by a specialised South African police department - the Hawks. He was convicted for smuggling and contravening sections of the Immigration Act by the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for smuggling illicit cigarettes.

Hawks' spokesperson for Limpopo, Captain Matimba Maluleke confirmed the development yesterday.

"During September 2022, Limpopo highway patrol members spotted a suspicious Isuzu truck driving on the N1 near Botlokwa and it was stopped. The truck with two occupants was searched and boxes containing cigarettes (Remington Gold) with the value of R1 786 685-03 were found and seized. The truck driver, Khumalo and the passenger, Victor Sithole (25) were immediately arrested and the Hawks' Serious Commercial Crime Investigation members were summoned to the scene to take over the investigation".

He said it was discovered during investigations that the contraband was destined for Gauteng Province.

Khumalo was charged for contravening the Custom and Excise Act 92 of 1964 (smuggling illicit cigarettes) while accused number two, Sithole was charged for contravening the Immigration Act. Capt Maluleke said the accused were kept in police custody until the sentencing after failing to secure bail several times.

"Apart from R1 million fine (or five years in prison), Khumalo was also declared unfit to possess a firearm while Sithole was fined R5 000 or two years in prison," he said.

In a related case, Captain Maluleke said their Assets Forfeiture Unit had successfully secured R547 300 final forfeiture order against cigarettes smuggler, Tapa Anderson Tafadzwa. He said the man was arrested on 12 November in 2019 at Beitbridge Border Post.

"On 12 November 2019, Beitbridge Port of Entry police spotted a suspicious truck with two trailers in the vicinity of the border gate. The truck was approached, searched and the police discovered false compartments loaded with boxes containing smuggled cigarettes. The driver was arrested and the cigarettes together with the truck and two trailers were seized."

The Assets Forfeiture Unit attached to the Priority Crime Specialised Investigation (PCSI) of the Hawks was entrusted with the assets investigation part of the case. After conducting an intensive investigation, the Thohoyandou High Court granted a preservation order on 28 October 2021.  Captain Maluleke said the matter was finalised on 8 February where the same court granted a final forfeiture order on one Man truck and two trailers.

"The accused person in this case has since disappeared after he was released on bail and the warrant of arrest was issued against him," he said.

Hawks' provincial commander General Gopz Govender said his details had worked hard in cracking cases of illicit details.

"I would like to congratulate the investigation team for a job well done. The imposition of R1 million fine or five years' direct imprisonment is a clear message to all cigarette dealers and couriers that such crimes will be dealt with and the perpetrators will face the full wrath of the law," he said.

Source - The Sunday News