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SRA confiscates E30 000 smuggled cigarettes

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BY LUNGA MASUKU

 

MBABANE – The vigilance of the Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) came to the fore yesterday when an operation dubbed ‘Operation Blue’ nabbed smuggled cigarettes worth about E30 000.

SRA Communications Director Vusi Dlamini said they managed to confisticate smuggled cigarettes and illegal activities. Dlamini said the operation was the first of a regular series of operations that were being mounted by the SRA.

"This is the first of a regular series of operati-ons that are mounted by the SRA to enhance compliance with the tax and customs laws of the country. Today’s operation, ‘Operation Blue is against illegal cigarettes trade in Swaziland and involves over 50 SRA staff, with support from the Royal Swaziland Police.

A large number of premi-ses were being visited in and around Mbabane to find and detain smuggled cigarettes.

The SRA is empowered under the Customs and Excise Act of 1971 and the Value Added Tax (VAT) of 2011 to inspect or search any premises including (those where it is suspected smuggled goods are being kept) and to remove any business records concer-ning these or other illegal activities.

Cigarettes in Swaziland carry excise duty (E10.32 per pack of 20 and VAT (at 14 per cent) Taking into account all the production, transport, distribution costs and profits it is unlikely that cigarettes can retail (legally) at less than about E20 per pack of 20.

Other indicators of smuggled goods are health warnings in a foreign language or unusual brands," said Dlamini.

smuggled

He said all cigarettes suspected to have been smuggled were being deta-ined pending investiga-tions, these investigations will also consider the prosecution of the offen-ders. Dlamini said the acts cited allow the courts to send offenders to prison for up to six years and to impose a fine of up to E15 000 that is addition of seizure of the goods.

 

"The smuggling of any commodity into Swaziland is a serious offence which deprives the nation of much needed revenue that could be used to fund schools hospitals, roads, the provision of clean water," added Dlamini.

He urged the public to call their toll free if they suspect that there were smuggled goods. Their number is 800 8000.

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