ILLICIT CIGARETTES’ SMUGGLER FINED R1 MILLION

ILLICIT CIGARETTES’ SMUGGLER FINED R1 MILLION

POLOKWANE- The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in Limpopo Province, Major General Gopz Govender highly appreciates a R1 million fine or five years imprisonment imposed on Pathisane Khumalo (28) by the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for smuggling illicit cigarettes.

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 illicit 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. As the investigation progressed, it was established that the consignments were destined for Gauteng Province.

Accused number one, 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. The accused were kept in police custody as their bail was successfully opposed until they pleaded guilty and sentenced on 8 February 2023.

Apart from R1 million fine, Khumalo was also declared unfit to possess a firearm while Sithole was fined R5 000-00 or two years imprisonment.

“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 illicit cigarettes dealers and couriers that such crimes will be dealt with and the perpetrators will face the full might of the law”. Concluded Major General Govender.

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