A passenger on his way to Dubai was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday for offering South African Revenue Services (Sars) customs officials “bundles of currency” to let him go.
The three Sars customs officers turned down the US$30 000 (close to R390 0000) bribe while escorting the man to the customs search area.
The passenger was removed from his flight before take-off for questioning after he was flagged by the SARS’ risk unit. He had no checked-in luggage and only a backpack, which was extremely heavy.
On the way to the customs search area, he repeatedly offered the two 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 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.
A criminal case was registered with the police for attempted bribery, false declaration and failure to declare. The passenger was remanded in custody.
In a second incident the same day, two passengers, also bound for Dubai, were intercepted at OR Tambo 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 airport police station (failure to declare) and the passenger was remanded in custody.