A Cape Town International Airport customs officer has been arrested after allegedly organising a “secret” payoff from a man who had complained that tax duties on items he had brought back from his trip overseas were too high, police say.
Police spokesperson Mihlali Majikela said the 45-year-old official was arrested for fraud and corruption in a sting operation at a coffee shop in Worcester after accepting R10 000 in cash.
This was after a businessman returning from Japan on Tuesday was approached by a customs and excise officer who informed him that he would have to pay R42 000 in tax duties for items he had bought on the trip.
When the businessman complained that this was excessive, the officer told him to get R10 000 from an ATM and give it to him as a bribe.
“The complainant refused to pay the amount, noting that there were cameras around and that he could be arrested for corruption,” Majikela said.
The officer then reduced it to a R2 000 payment at the SA Revenue Service’s desk, saying that that he would contact the businessman the next day for a further R10 000.
The traveller paid the R2 000 but, on Wednesday, police attached to the provincial anti-corruption investigating unit were to hand over the R10 000 bribe.
The police then lay in wait for the exchange at a coffee shop in the Western Cape town.
The businessman handed over R10 000 and the customs official was arrested.
The money was recovered and the official is expected to appear in the Worcester Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.