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First on EWN: BAT implicated in cigarette smuggling

EWN has learnt this claim has been submitted to Parliament by former Sars spokesman, Adrian Lackay.

EWN has learnt this claim has been submitted to Parliament by former Sars spokesman, Adrian Lackay. Picture: FreeImages.com

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt former South African Revenue Service (Sars) spokesperson Adrian Lackay claims evidence has emerged that British American Tobacco (BAT), a private investigation firm, and State Security Agency officials have been involved in cigarette smuggling.

Lackay makes the claim in a document submitted to Parliament's Finance Portfolio Committee.

Lackay left Sars after several officials were suspended following claims of a rogue spy unit within the organisation.

In the document, he says former Sars investigator Johann van Loggerenberg learnt from cellphone data that the parties named were 'involved in a range of illegal activities that had cost the fiscus hundreds of millions of rands."

Both BAT South Africa and BAT United Kingdom are named in the document.

The document also claims Sars has still not investigated this evidence.

But the organisation's Luther Lebelo said it's not up to Sars to probe this.

"To blame Sars for not investigating criminal matters is unfair. If somebody has evidence, he must go to the police."

The State Security Agency said these claims have been investigated before and no evidence of wrongdoing was found.

In its reply to these claims, BAT said it's unable to provide an informed response as it has not been able to see the entire document.

The company said it denies any involvement in illegal activity.

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