Importer fined K2m

In one of the country’s biggest Customs bust, an importer trying to smuggle alcohol into the country under false declaration in February has been slapped with a K2, 054,335.42, penalty fee and will face prosecution.

Customs Commissioner, David Towe announced this after the conclusion of a three-month investigation into the matter.

Mr Towe said the importer of the container, whose identity was not disclosed, been targeted for earlier cases of non-compliance.

“Because of earlier cases of non-compliance, this particular importer has been on our target list. So when his container came in, in February, our targeting and compliance team seized the container and brought it to the Container Examination facility (CEF) where it was x-rayed and found that the contents did not correspond to what was put on the customs declaration.

The declaration form listed water and other items but the container contained 1864 cartons of well-known alcohol brands.

He said the importer had made a false declaration for duty tax.

“When the importer made the first declaration, they declared it and they were going to pay some K48,000 for duty. But when we did a stock take of all the alcohol and recalculated the total amount of tax that should’ve been declared if the importer was honest, the total amount of tax was supposed to have been K1,075,311.71.”

A penalty fine of 100 per cent of the total due tax, less the initial declaration of K48,000, will now be paid by the importer, and the importer will also face prosecution.

Mr Towe said the maximum penalty fee is 200 per cent, and that these new harsher penalties are the result of amendments made to the Customs Act in 2020.

“The importer has been given 30 days to pay the penalty, which began yesterday. For every day over the 30 days that the importer does not pay, an 8 per cent increase on the penalty will be added onto the payment balance.”  

If the importer cannot pay the penalty, the goods will be auctioned and the proceeds will go to the government.

Melissa Wokasup