Loggers fined K900,000 for undeclared items

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, February 2, 2011

THE PNG Customs Services has penalised a logging company more than K400, 000 for failing to declare imports brought in by a ship.
It is understood the vessel was cleared, however, a check conducted by officers from the Customs border response and police intelligent unit later revealed significant volumes of undeclared fuel and equipment.
The logging company (named) shipped in fuel and equipment undeclared into Wewak through Vanimo, West Sepik, and Customs slammed it for failing to pay duties and penalties which totalled in excess of K900,000.
Northern region assistant commissioner Francis Nipuru confirmed Customs actions, saying that the northern region customs division was concerned at the growing instances of smuggling in its region, especially from Indonesia.
He said people are actively smuggling commercial goods from Indonesia and avoiding payment of relevant duties, adding that these goods included fuel, alcohol and cigarettes destined primarily for the Highlands region.
“We are finding it difficult to consistently and constantly maintain a state of vigilance to detect and prevent what is happening. There is also the influx of illegal foreigners and contraband such as pornography, weapons and drugs,” he said.
Commissioner Customs Gary Juffa commended Nipuru on the actions he took, adding Customs was doing all it could to curb a growing smuggling trade and to deter transnational crimes.
“PNG is fast becoming a soft target for transnational criminals who are realising the lucrative economic opportunities that PNG is presenting with limited logistics and insufficient capacity therefore we need more trained officers and logistics,” he said.
Juffa said that they were still awaiting patrol boats promised by the Asian Development Bank, adding he had been assured they would purchased and delivered for use this year.
He said: “This will assist in maintaining border security and protecting our communities. We are working on tougher laws this year and I am determined to put in place laws to deter transnational crime and criminals.”