Public help leads to arrest of businessman

National, Normal

GOOD public cooperation has resulted in the arrest of a Papua New Guinean businessman who allegedly obtained more than K1.2 million from Telikom due to Customs in import duty through fraud.
According to Customs, the man is alleged to have falsified Customs entries and invoices and presented the fraudulent documents to Customs evading duty amounting to more than K1.2 million.
The evaded amount has so far been paid by Telikom after a demand letter was sent to Telikom when the duty evasion was detected by Customs.
The man was caught at his home outside Port Moresby on March 10 by members of the border response unit of the PNG Customs Service and the transnational crime unit of the Royal PNG Constabulary after days of surveillance.
The man has been on the run from Customs when investigations into his alleged dealings to deliberately evade Customs duty tax spanning over three years.
The 36-year-old man from Rigo, Central province, is now in police custody and questioned.
Investigators said he was cooperating.
 Meanwhile, Customs has commenced a review of all agents to determine their validity and suitability.
According to PNG Customs Commissioner Gary Juffa, many agents and people claiming to be agents were misleading importers and exporters and stealing money from clients.
In many instances, these agents had illegally removed cargo from the wharves using fraudulent documents.
This was the case in regards to another Customs agent who had also been on the run for several months until located, arrested and charged and transported to Lae two weeks ago to face prosecutions.
The man had been responsible for illegally and fraudulently removing several used cars from Lae and was arrested and charged.
However, he absconded bail and did not appear in court.
He was eventually caught following a public appeal on local television.
Mr Juffa said the cooperation between police and Customs, with the assistance of the public, had resulted in the apprehension of many such conmen.