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RUSTENBURG - Two customs officers from the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and a South African Police Service (SAPS) officer were arrested at Skilpadshek border post on Friday, the Sars said.

Spokesperson Sicelo Mkosi said the three were nabbed during a sting operation and would face charges related to the Customs and Excise Act, as well as for corruption.

"In August this year, Patrick Moeng: executive for customs investigations was informed that a member of SAPS had approached customs officials at Skilpadshek border post to fraudulently process export documents for fuel that was supposedly exported by a tanker across the said border post," Mkosi said.

"Subsequent investigations into the matter found that no such fuel was exported, and no tankers crossed the border. The Hawks, together with the Sars Criminal Investigation and Fraud Investigation units, were then approached to further investigate, and this led to the arrest of the two Customs officials and a policeman earlier today."

Mkosi said as a result of this intense investigation, 16 shipments of fuel that had been fraudulently processed for export have been identified thus far. 

"The trio had connived to mark this fuel as for export, only to discover it was sold on the local market. The estimated revenue that would have been potentially lost to Sars as a result of this corrupt activity is approximately R3 360 717, including the various duties and levies."

The three were expected to appear in the Lehurutshe Magistrates’ Court on  Monday.

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African News Agency (ANA)