Sunday, 26 June 2011

Fake Cigarette Busts - South Africa

“Over 5 million counterfeit cigarettes bearing Philip Morris International trademarks were seized in the port of Durban in 2008,” said Tobacco Institute of South Africa Chairman, Francois van der Merwe.

Van der Merwe said more than R2 million in excise tax and VAT would have been lost to the revenue coffers if the cigarettes had found their way into the South Africa market.

“The illicit trade in cigarettes currently comprises more than 20 percent of the total cigarette market in South Africa, which equates to approximately 6 billion illegal cigarettes per year,” he said. (Sapa)

The TISA website's media section contains information on recent busts and other information concerning the highly lucrative and dangerous counterfeit cigarette market.

The penalties if a retailer, or reseller, is caught with illicit products and prosecuted under the Customs and Excise Act (evasion of taxes) are: A fine of R20 000 or three times the value of the goods, depending of which one is the greatest; or up to 5 years on prison. A person prosecuted can therefore pay a fine and go to jail. (TISA)

Posted by Darren Olivier

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