The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has confirmed that it intercepted a passenger who was travelling to Dubai at the OR Tambo International Airport.
The incident, which took place on Tuesday (5 June), escalated after the man then attempted to bribe customs officials with $30,000 (close to R390,000)
“The passenger was removed from his flight before take-off for questioning after he was flagged by the SARS’ Risk unit. The passenger had no checked in luggage and only one backpack, which was extremely heavy,” it said in a statement.
“On the way to the customs search area, he repeatedly offered the two Customs officers “bundles of currency” in return for allowing him to leave with his backpack. Both refused this request.
“They were then joined by a customs manager in the interview room and the passenger again offered them all “bundles of currency” in order to secure his release.
“The offer was increased to $30 000 and was consistently refused by the customs officials in the interview room. The entire interaction including searching of his bag which contained US$334,895 (over R4 million) was captured on CCTV cameras in the customs control room.”
SARS confirmed that a criminal case was registered with the SAPS for attempted bribery, false declaration and failure to declare. The passenger was remanded into custody.
In a second incident on the same day, two passengers bound for Dubai were intercepted at OR Tambo International Airport for being in possession of undeclared currency.
The male passenger was taken to the Customs search area and three of his bags were searched.
Customs officers found the equivalent of more than R600,000 in US dollars and Pakistani Rupees hidden in his laptop bag.
A criminal case of contravention of the Customs Act was registered at the ORTIA Police Station (failure to declare) and the passenger was remanded into custody.