More than R12 million worth of illegal cigarettes found at border post


A 44-year-old Zimbabwean was arrested on Friday by the anti-corruption investigation unit in the North West when he allegedly wanted to smuggle illegal cigarettes worth more than R12 million.

“According to the information received, the suspect, a truck driver, wanted to enter the country from Botswana at around 06:40 at the Turtle Gate border post,” says Lt. Col. Amanda Funani, spokesperson for the police.

Trucks are not allowed to cross any border post during off-loading, as the computers are then offline.

“A police officer, who patrols the border, saw the truck driving away from the border in the direction of Zeerust. The officer notified his commander, the truck was chased and stopped before it could reach Zeerust. The driver was ordered to drive back to the Tortoise Gate border post.”

SARS and customs officials were requested to search the truck and boxes of cigarettes were found which the truck driver failed to declare to customs officials. The value of the cigarettes amounts to R12 868 509.00.

The driver was arrested on charges of possession of illegal cigarettes. He will appear in the Lehurutshe Magistrate’s Court soon.

“The police officer, who allowed the truck to leave the border post, is also being investigated. Complaints of obstruction of justice can be added when the investigation is completed.”

The case has been handed over to the directorate for priority crime investigations (the Falcons) in the North West for further investigation.