'Show me the cigs': SARS says importer owes it billions after 30 tons of tobacco 'disappeared'

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The SA Revenue Service says it is owed almost R19 billion by an import export company.
The SA Revenue Service says it is owed almost R19 billion by an import export company.
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The SA Revenue Service (SARS) is seeking to claw back billions of rands in customs duties from a company based at the Beitbridge border post that it accuses of importing 30 tons of tobacco that "disappeared" without a trace into the underground economy. 

"The respondent is evidently involved in the illicit trade in tobacco," states SARS employee Pule Mantso in an affidavit lodged with the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in August. 

The sums that SARS says it is owed, are, in its own words, "astronomical". The tax agency is holding Verbena Freight & Logistics Management CC liable for R18.8 billion in unpaid customs duty, plus R31 million in VAT, R73 million income tax and R477 000 in PAYE.

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