Indian national sentenced for crossing border with illicit cigarettes

Mahmad Asif Ahmed Shaikh has been sentenced. Picture: Hawks

Mahmad Asif Ahmed Shaikh has been sentenced. Picture: Hawks

Published Apr 18, 2024


An Indian national caught trying to cross the border in the Free State with illicit cigarettes has been sentenced in the Ficksburg Magistrate’s Court.

Mahmad Asif Ahmed Shaikh, 41, was found guilty of contravening the Customs and Exercise Act 91 of 1964.

The provincial spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as Hawks), Lieutenant Colonel Zweli Mohobeleli said Shaikh was arrested trying to cross into Lesotho.

“On April 27, 2022, members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African Revenue Service (Sars) Customs officials were conducting normal duties at the Ficksburg Port of Entry when they stopped and searched a black vehicle.

“They found cigarettes inside the boot which Shaikh had failed to declare in line with customs prescripts.

“This led officers to his house where more illegal cigarettes to an estimated value of R1.6 million were found,” Mohobeleli said.

The matter was investigated by members of the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation based in Bethlehem.

After lengthy court proceedings, Shaikh was sentenced to five years imprisonment or a fine of R150,000, of which three years of imprisonment or a fine of R75,000 has been suspended.

He will ultimately serve two years imprisonment or pay the fine of R75,000.

In a separate incident, a forex trader in the Free State had a preservation order granted against him in the Ladybrand Magistrate’s Court.

Moeketsi Ntshasa, 28, is accused of swindling investors out of R21 million.

By order of the court, a house valued at R2.9 million has been preserved.

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