Import duty scam uncovered

National, Normal


A PNG customs services officer has been suspended from duty pending full investigations after he allegedly colluded with a freighter to defraud his employer of more than K1.2 million.
Commissioner of PNG customs services Garry Juffa confirmed internal investigations had commenced regarding a case that involved 11 shipments of equipment imported by Telikom PNG.
Telikom hired registered freight company, Ivan’s Freight Limited owned by Ivan Mulina of Central province, to move the cargo from the wharf to its supply base at Boroko.
According to shipping documents and reports perused by The National, a plan was executed by the freighter, a customs officer and several customs agents to tamper with valuation of the imported items for a period of nine months.
The customs officer, contacted licenced customs agents to clear the cargo from the wharf and sent the bills to the freighter.
The freighter then billed Telikom.
However, the customs officer entered reduced values on the goods.
On one invoice, the genuine value of the goods  were US$11,840 (K32,000) but the freighter, customs agent and the customs staff reduced that value to US$1,840 (K5,000) and the freighter paid only K530.70 as import duty.
The actual import duty due was K3,397.42.
Over the nine-month period, Telikom paid a total of K1,648,664.78 to Ivan’s Freight for customs duty, according to the documents, but customs was only paid K76,008.78.
They should have  received  K1,228,500.62.
Mr Juffa said he was not blaming Telikom for any foul play.
“Telikom is a victim just like us in this case,” Mr Juffa said.
Senior staff of Telikom’s corporate services said an internal investigation was also in progress and some staff had been terminated for their part in the scandal.
Mr Juffa said his investigators were looking for Mr Mulina.