ILLICIT CIGARETTES CASE WORTH MORE THAN R12 MILLION ADJOURNED FOR BAIL APPLICATION

ILLICIT CIGARETTES CASE WORTH MORE THAN R12 MILLION ADJOURNED FOR BAIL APPLICATION

The Lehurutshe Magistrates’ Court postponed the case against Joseph Kusekwa (43), to 27 July 2023 for a formal bail application. Kusekwa who is a Zimbabwean National, with no legal documentation to be in the country, was arrested by the North West Provincial Anti-Corruption Investigating Unit (ACIU) for allegedly trying to smuggle illicit cigarettes worth more than R12 million on Friday, 21 July 2023. The state intends to oppose his bail application.

Police reports revealed that the suspect, who is a truck driver, was from Botswana entering South Africa at Skilpadhek Port of Entry at approximately 6:40 during load-shedding, when trucks entering/leaving the country are not allowed to do so at the Port of entries, owing to computers being off-line. It is alleged that a police official, who was patrolling along the border, saw the truck leaving the border, driving towards Zeerust. Reports suggest that the member informed his Commander and the truck was chased and stopped before it reached Zeerust. The driver was ordered to drive back to Skilpadhek port of entry where SARS and Customs members were requested to inspect the truck, and boxes of cigarettes which the driver failed to declare at customs, valued at R12 868 509.00, were discovered inside the truck. The driver was immediately arrested and charged with possession of illicit cigarettes.

The police also indicated that the police official, who allowed the truck to leave the border, is being investigated and charges of defeating the ends of justice could be added when the investigations are concluded. The case was handed over to the North West Hawks for further investigations and the suspect will remain in police custody until the next court appearance.

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