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MBABANE – Goods worth E155 000 belonging to Ruchi Wholesalers were detained at Ngwenya Border Gate after a clearing agent attempted to smuggle them into the country.

It is said that a truck from Sinica Manufacturing, registered JP38HJGP, was intercepted the border gate trying to smuggle a horse and trailer of fomo packaging destined for Ruchi wholesalers. As a result of the attempted smuggling, Charles Kunene was arrested and charged with under-declaration. He appeared at the Mbabane Magistrates Court, where he was sentenced to two years imprisonment with an option of a fine of E2 000.


It is said that he declared an invoice of E3 000 for a fully loaded truck, and when the truck was inspected by customs officers, it was discovered that the goods were more than the invoiced amount. When the driver was reportedly probed further, he is said to have claimed ignorance about the declaration, saying the clearing agent was responsible for clearing the goods.
The clearing agent was reportedly called, and he came with another  invoice of E155 000. The matter was then reported to the Eswatini Revenue Service’s (ERS) criminal investigation division. Kunene was charged with contravening Section 84(1) of the Customs and Excise Act of 1971, and when the charge was read to him, he entered a plea of guilty. According to the charge sheet, the accused person contravened Section 84(1) of the Customs and Excise Act in that on or about March 16, 2023, at or near Ngwenya Border Gate, he unlawfully made a false statement to ERS by under-declaring goods for Ruchi Wholesalers valued at E155 000 and thereby contravened the said Act.

Section 84 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act of 1971 states that a person who makes a false statement in connection with any matter dealt with in this Act, or who makes use for purposes of this Act of a declaration or document containing any such statement, unless he proves that he was ignorant of the falsity thereof and that such ignorance was not due to negligence on his part, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand Emalangeni or treble the value of the goods to which such statement, declaration, or document relates, whichever is greater or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both, and the goods in respect of which such false statement was made or such false declaration or document was used shall be liable to forfeiture. In a previous matter, Ronny Given Mashigo, a South African male adult of 50 years, was convicted of forging proof of payment from Nedbank. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment with the option of a fine, which was fixed at E1 000.


He appeared before Magistrate Innocent Motsa in Mbabane Magistrates Court. It is alleged that when the customs officer requested him to produce proof of payment for his declaration under Sekulula, he presented a forged proof of payment from Nedbank. The matter was reported to Ngwenya police, who arrested Mashigo for the offence. He was charged with the offence of contravening section 84 (1) of the Customs and Excise Act of 1971 in that on March 16, 2023, at or near Ngwenya Border Post, in the Hhohho Region, the accused person, unlawfully made a false statement to ERS officer, Bright Fakudze by altering a proof of payment description for payer details from Nedbank to declare a consignment worth E23 432.40, and in the process, contravened the said provisions of the Act.

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