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Zimbabwean man gets R20 000 bail for smuggling

by Staff reporter
10 Nov 2021 at 05:32hrs | Views
The trial of a 52 year-old Zimbabwean man who was recently arrested with R30 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in South Africa has been set for January 17 next year at the Polokwane Magistrate Court in Limpopo Province.

Alec Muthanguro, who is alleged to be linked to a racket of cigarettes smugglers operating within Beitbridge and South Africa was busted with a contraband of 3 000 Remmington Gold cigarettes on October 26 in Polokwane.

Limpopo spokesperson, for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Ms Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said the accused had been released from custody on R20 000 bail pending further investigations.

She said the man had been ordered to surrender his passport and to report once a week at Kempton Park Police station in Ekurhuleni.

According to the provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, the accused's arrest was part of their intensified fight against the illegal trading and smuggling of illicit cigarettes across the province.

"The police received information about a commercial truck transporting a huge consignment of illicit cigarettes which had allegedly crossed into the country through the Beitbridge Border Post and heading towards Polokwane," he said.

"A snap operation by a team comprising the Limpopo Provincial Tracking Team and Crime Intelligence Unit was activated and the truck fitting the description given was spotted along the Dendron/Polokwane road.

"It was then intercepted and pulled over at the intersection next to the Traffic Department".

Brig Mojapelo said the man was then escorted to the nearby Polokwane International Airport where the truck was searched.

He said the police found more than 3 000 boxes of Remington Gold cigarettes with an estimated street value of R30 million loaded in the truck.

Muthanguro was arrested for smuggling and possession of illicit cigarettes.

South Africa is one of the major destinations and conduits for cigarettes smuggled through the Beitbridge border post or the Limpopo River.

It is understood that 30 percent of cigarettes in the neighbouring country including Pacific, Remington gold, Mega, Dullahs, Branson, and Servilles are from Zimbabwe.

South Africa's tax watchdog, Tax Justice SA (TJSA) accuses cigarettes manufacturers in the neighbouring country of paying lip service to tax laws following the surge in tobacco smuggling.

The organisation's founder, Mr Yusuf Abramjee said recently that investigations by market researchers IPSOS revealed that 85 percent of GLTC-owned brands bought in the survey were sold below the Minimum Collectible Tax (MCT) rate of R21,60 per pack.

He said they had also established that every single pack (99 percent) of Remington Gold purchased in the survey was below the MCT and that some were sold for as little as R10.

It is difficult for Zimbabweans to export cigarettes to South Africa due to the high excise duty rates in that country (on tobacco or cigarettes).

Cigars, Cheroots, Cigarillos, and Cigarettes, of Tobacco or of Tobacco Substitutes imports into South Africa are charged at a rate of R6,21 per 10 cigarettes.

Source - The Herald
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