Customs officers arrested for fraud


FIVE Lae Custom officers arrested and subsequently dismissed underscored the department’s zero tolerance for corruption, according to Customs Commissioner Ray Paul.
The officers allegedly extorted about K10,000 from a foreigner in February.
“There is no place for corrupt practices within the PNG Customs Service and any Customs officer found to be engaging in such practices will be dealt with accordingly,” Paul said.
“The PNG Customs has a zero tolerance approach to these kinds of practices.
“Members of the public who know of any officer engaging in corrupt activities must report them immediately to my office or the Customs Internal Affairs office, both located in Port Moresby.”
“We take these matters very seriously and we will deal with them accordingly, regardless of the positions or titles these officers may hold in the organisation.”
Paul said the five officers were alleged to have been part of a group made up of officers from other Government agencies who conducted an unsanctioned operation that led to the apprehension of the foreigner because he was deemed to have had issues with his work permit.
It is alleged that following his apprehension and interview, the foreigner was released but his work documents were kept for further analysis.
Several officers under the guise of escorting the foreigner home, demanded money from him with the promise that his work documents would be returned to him.
The foreigner alleged that he was forced to pay a total of K10,000 in cash to the officers.
He then reported the matter to his embassy, who in turn referred the matter to police and Customs.
The five officers were interviewed, arrested and charged for one count of Official Corruption under Section 87 of the PNG Criminal Code Act. They were immediately suspended without pay and later dismissed.

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