Customs, police destroy confiscated items

Main Stories
The National, Tuesday July 19th, 2016

PNG Customs officials and the police drug squad in Lae removed the contents of two impounded containers on Saturday.
Customs officials impounded the two small containers after intercepting them on the mv Hiri Chief at Lae main wharf last October because the importers were attempting to evade Customs excise duty.
The owners of the containers were urged to own up and pay almost K80,000 excise duty but failed to do so.
The contents included consumable items, 36 cartons of Marlboro cigarettes, 16 cartons of illegal firecrackers and packed marijuana.
In March, the owner (name withheld) of one of the containers claimed it held assorted goods. Her 18 cartons of Marlboro, though genuine, were impounded as she was advised to provide excise tax (border clearance) documents.
Customs Northern regional director Francis Nipuru told The National that she evaded paying an estimated K65,000 in excise duty.
The owner told The National that her container was shipped from Vanimo on Oct 20 to Lae on mv Hiri Chief.
However, Customs denied her children from claiming the container and sell its contents to raise school fees.
“Those were NAQIA documents she provided without border Customs clearance,” Nipuru said.
Since then, the owners were given 30 days to claim the containers and when they did not show up, the contents were disposed of on Saturday.
Customs officer Ian Hearing said the owners instead attempted to bribe the officers with cash.
The 36 cartons of Marlboro were burnt while firecrackers and drugs were handed to police for safe keeping as court exhibits.  “We are not discouraging business along the border; we do encourage people to import items from Jayapura to promote SME activities,” Hering said.
“Customs as a State agency only encourages our citizens to uphold business ethics and follow set government procedures in doing businesses by paying excise tax only.”
He said importing firecrackers required police clearance.
Police are yet to establish how the drugs were shipped to Lae.
“The owner of the drug and fire crackers (name withheld) attempted to bribe Customs with K100,000,” officials said.
Nipuru told The National that it was a police matter and beyond their jurisdiction.