Customs: Report corrupt officers to us

National, Normal

The National,Monday16 January 2012

THE Customs Service advised all importers and  exporters, customs brokers and business houses to report anyone of their officers they suspect of being involved in fraudulent activities.  
Caretaker Commissioner John Pomoso said this after a Customs officer was arrested and charged last Friday while trying to solicit money from a Port Moresby-based importer.
While commending the importer for coming forward with information leading to the arrest, Pomoso said: “Customs will not tolerate any form of corrupt practices and activities by its officers or anyone else as such practices are totally against the Customs code of conduct and ethics and we takes a serious position against any conduct that breaches the rules and regulations that Customs is obliged to enforce.
“Any person found to be involved in such activities will be dealt with accordingly by the law.
“We have had similar instances in the past but importers fail to come forward with information.
“But in this instance, I commend the importer for coming forward because Customs is very serious about weeding out corruption.
“I am urging all stakeholders to do the same in future.”
The Port Moresby wharf-based male Customs officer was alleged to have asked the importer for money before releasing the importer’s vehicles and spare parts, even though the Customs agent had cleared the cargo.
The suspect had allegedly asked for K6,000.     
However, the importer quickly contacted Customs, which swiftly set up an operation to catch the suspect with the help of the police organised crime unit.
Without having any knowledge of that operation, the officer arranged with a representative of the importer to meet at a food outlet at 4-Mile at 3pm to deliver the cash. By, then police and Customs intelligence, internal affairs and border response officers had already stationed themselves in close proximity of the proposed meeting area.   
The cash was then delivered to the suspect by the importer’s staff but the amount was only half of what the suspect had asked for.
In the process of counting and complaining about the half payment, police moved in and made the arrest.
Police and Customs officers then escorted the suspect to police headquarters at Konedobu where he was formally charged under Section 88 of the Criminal Code Act, before being transported to the Boroko Police station where he was locked up.