February 10, 2014
Foreigner charged for bribery
Customs Commissioner Ray Paul is once again urging everyone entering PNG to respect and abide by the country's laws after Police arrested and charged a PNG based foreign businessman for offering a bribe to a Customs officer on Feb 4, 2014 in Port Moresby.
The foreigner was charged under Section 97 (1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act Chapter 262 and was later released on bail for K500. Police made the arrest after being tipped off by the Customs officer who was offered the bribe.
The foreigner is alleged to have given K1, 000 in cash to the Customs officer in exchange for a suitcase that contained 41 inners of Parliament and Double Happiness branded cigarettes. The suitcase had initially been detained by Customs on Feb 2, 2014 at the Jacksons International Airport after the foreigner's wife was caught trying to smuggle the items past Customs.
The wife and the foreigner, who was at the airport to pick up his wife, were advised by Customs officers then to pay a total of K6, 150 in duty and penalty costs before the suitcase could be released to them.
However, two days later the foreigner turned up at the Customs headquarters at Gordons, where the suitcase was locked up, with the intention to offer a bribe, despite being advised by telephone several times beforehand to pay the fine at the Customs airport office.
"I would like to commend the Customs officers involved in this case for showing honesty and integrity in their line of duty and I hope the offender has learnt a good lesson", Customs Commissioner Ray Paul stated. "And let that be a warning to anyone else that have been, or thinking of trying to smuggle goods across PNG's borders to think twice, because the law will eventually catch up with you".
"Incidents such as the one now reported, though small, but when added up will show that the country stands to lose a lot in potential revenue if allowed to continue".
February 17, 2014
Foreigner charged for bringing in illegal tender
An American was arrested and charged by Police on Feb 15, 2014 after he tried to smuggle past Customs a briefcase containing illegal currency.
The passenger Barry Keith Webb, 49, an American citizen arrived into Port Moresby on an Air Niugini flight from Manila, Philippines at around 5am on Saturday February 15, 2014.
The passenger was detained for questioning after an x-ray scan on his brief case revealed that the case contained what appeared to be huge amounts of cash.
This occurred after the passenger was asked whether he had anything to declare, to which he had replied "No".
Manual inspection of the briefcase confirmed that the contents were in fact cash, the currency labelled on each note was kina and the wording on the top of both sides of the note was Central Bank of Bougainville, Kingdom of Papaala.
After the passenger was escorted to the Customs Airport Office interview room for further questioning, Customs officers counted and confirmed that the currency in the passenger's briefcase totalled 1.6 million.
The notes were all in 100s and in bundles of 5000.
The passenger's briefcase was then seized by Customs under Section 146 (1) (b) of the Customs Act as a prohibited import.
Customs contacted the Police, Bank of PNG and other relevant agencies thereafter.
Following questioning by Bank of PNG personnel and a formal interview by PNG Customs officers, the passenger was then escorted to Police Headquarters where he was also interviewed by the Police's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and charged under Section 160 (a) of the Criminal Code Act. He was later locked up at the Boroko Police Station.
Customs will lay further charges on him under the Customs Act.
This is the second airport incident within a week.
"I issued a statement to the media recently for everyone traveling into Papua New Guinea to respect the laws of this country", Customs Commissioner Ray Paul said.
"And I am reiterating that now, this country has laws and everyone must abide by those laws.
"I am warning those who have been involved in illegal activities, or those who are thinking of doing so, to think twice. "We are looking at the legislation now to ensure tougher penalties are put in place", the Commissioner added.
"In saying that let me remind everyone again that PNG Customs is committed to our mission to facilitate legitimate trade and travel across our borders.
"If anyone is unsure of anything please come to us to assist you so that you do not get caught out.