Concrete products firm probed

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A CHINESE-owned concrete building material firm who has been allegedly manufacturing chewing gum near Port Moresby and profiting without paying tax is being investigated, according to the Immigration and Citizenship Authority.
Chief migration officer Stanis Hulahau confirmed a joint operation by Immigration and police near Laloki exposed the firm.
Hulahau claimed the company was disrespectful to Papua New Guinea laws and established processes and procedures to register a company and meet the taxation requirements.
The Immigration-led spot check operation targeting logging, retail and foreign companies along the Hiritano Highway in Central made the discovery.
The company (name withheld), was registered in Dec 2017, to specialise in concrete material and aggregate products.
However, it was discovered that it secretly manufactured chewing gum in its premises under the disguise of engaging in gravel and concrete products.
Investment Promotion Authority records confirmed that the chewing gum manufacturer (name withheld) is not a registered company and was illegally producing chewing gum and engaging in possible tax evasion and production without certification of health and safety standards.
Upon inspection, the Chinese owners were too protective over it, but local workers and residents of Laloki confirmed the company produced chewing gum in its premises and secretly sold it to business houses in the city using its chain of network.
Hulahau said such illegal operations were secretly practised in closed and restricted premises and urged government authorities to step up efforts to prevent such illegal operations.
“I am disappointed that this particular manufacturer is not a registered company and is illegally producing chewing gums in mint and strawberry flavours and is making profit without paying any tax to the government,” he said.
“If Immigration and police officers were not there, this illegal company would secretly operate and make profit without the knowledge of relevant government authorities.
“Our intelligence confirms there are many similar operations in metropolitan areas registered as specialising in one activity but operating underworld in illegal productions of cigarettes, alcohol, cooking oil, chewing gums (and other products) with the idea of evading tax.
“Such activities are threats to the national security, the economy and the health of our people,” Hulahau said.
Immigration officers identified two Chinese nationals working for the company who have had discrepancies in their visas and penalised them with fines of K5,000 each. The spot check operation over the weekend collected a total of K100,000 as spot fines and penalties from logging, retail and concrete companies along Hiritano Highway.
Hulahau said he would initiate investigations with other State agencies into the operations of the foreign manufacturing company.