Truck Driver Fined R200,000 for Smuggling R6 Million Counterfeit Goods into South Africa

A 40-year-old Mozambican truck driver, Bento Abilio Cuna, has been convicted and fined R200,000 for attempting to smuggle counterfeit goods worth R6 million into South Africa.

The Mbombela Specialised Commercial Crime Court handed down the verdict following his arrest at the Lebombo port of entry.

Cuna was apprehended by a collaborative effort of law enforcement agencies including the Lebombo border police, Lebombo Customs and Excise, and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, commonly known as the Hawks.

The arrest occurred on November 4 last year, around 3 am, when Cuna attempted to enter South Africa from Mozambique driving a Volvo truck with two tipper trailers.

During a routine search of his vehicle, authorities discovered counterfeit goods, including takkies and clothes, with an estimated street value of nearly R6 million concealed in the trailers.

Subsequently, Cuna was taken into custody.

bento abilio cuna

Following thorough investigations and court proceedings, the State successfully opposed bail, leading to Cuna’s remand in custody.

The truck and trailers, along with the counterfeit goods, were confiscated and impounded at the customs warehouse.

Additionally, Section 212 affidavits were obtained from the brand holders to further support the case against Cuna.

The court sentenced Cuna to a fine of R200,000 or two years’ imprisonment, with half of the sentence suspended for five years under the condition that he avoids further violations of the Customs and Excise Act.

Furthermore, the forfeited counterfeit goods will remain in the possession of the State.

Moreover, the owner of the truck and trailers faced penalties, including a fine and storage fees amounting to R135,000, payable to the South African Revenue Service Customs.

Major General Nicholas Gerber, the provincial head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, commended the law enforcement team for their prompt action in finalizing the investigation and securing a conviction in the case. The collaborative efforts of various agencies demonstrate the commitment to combatting smuggling and protecting South Africa’s borders from illicit activities.

The successful prosecution of individuals involved in smuggling operations sends a clear message that such activities will not be tolerated, and those found guilty will face the full force of the law.