Exporter handed down R600 000 fine for illegal scrap metal deals

A Boksburg businessman has been handed down a hefty sentence after he attempted to illegally export more than R1 million worth of scrap metal.



A Boksburg exporter has been handed down a massive R600 000 fine and a suspended sentence for attempting to illegally export scrap metal, in the Durban Magistrates Court.                                                                         

The sentencing of Gautam Lal, 40, to five years imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of five years, with several stringent conditions, is a first for the KwaZulu-Natal in that an individual has been convicted in their personal capacity instead of their company.

Lal pleaded guilty to two counts of exporting steel scrap metal without obtaining an export permit in contravention of the International Trade Administration Act, and two counts of making a false declaration in Contravention of the Customs and Excise Act. The offences took place in February and March 2020.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, said that the Boksburg  businessman specialised in the buying and selling of scrap metal. 

“Legislation requires that no goods of a specific class or kind may be exported from South Africa, except under the authority of and in accordance with the conditions stated in a permit issued by the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC),” Ramkisson-Kara said.

In February 2020, Lal had attempted to export ten containers of scrap metal, valued at about R 1,1million. In March 2020, he attempted to export eight containers of scrap metal valued at about R 922 000. 

“This was done without having a permit from the ITAC. He planned on exporting the commodities to the Port of Mundra in India. He made false declarations by attaching false/incorrect tariff codes to the items due for export. He was arrested following an inspection by the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) Customs Investigation Unit,” she said.

The court handed Lal a five year wholly suspended sentence and imposed the following conditions:

  • He must not be convicted of any offence involving a contravention of the International Trade Administration Act, which is committed during the period of suspension
  • He pays a fine of R600 000 at the clerk of the Durban Magistrates court over the next 20 months
  • An instalment of R30 000 has to be paid at the end of each month, with the first instalment due at the end of October 2021.
  • Lal also paid an amount of approximately R266 000 to SARS for penalties imposed.

“This successful prosecution, where an individual is convicted in their personal capacity for these charges, instead of their company is a first for KwaZulu-Natal,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

The matter was finalised by Regional Court Control Prosecutor, Vaneshree Moodley.