CUSTOMS URGES STAKEHOLDERS TO REPORT CORRUPT OFFICERS
The PNG Customs Service is advising all importers, exporters, customs brokers and business houses to be cautious and to report to Customs any officer that they suspect to be involved in fraudulent activities. Caretaker Commissioner John Pomoso issued this warning after a Customs officer was arrested and charged on Friday January 13, 2012, while trying to solicit money from a Port Moresby based importer.
While commending the importer for coming forward with information leading to the arrest, Mr. Pomoso said: "Customs will not tolerate any form of corrupt practices and activities by its officers or anyone else. These practices are totally against the Customs Code of Conduct and Ethics and Customs takes a serious position against any conduct that breaches the rules and regulations Customs is obliged to enforce. Any person found to be involved in such activities will be dealt with accordingly by the law. We have had similar instances in the past but importers fail to come forward with information. But in this instance, I commend the importer for coming forward because Customs is very serious about weeding out corruption. I am urging all stakeholders to do the same in future."
This follows a similar case in Lae, Morobe Province where an importer unsuccessfully tried to bribe a senior Customs officer.
But this time, a Port Moresby wharf based male Customs officer (named) is alleged to have asked the importer for money before releasing the importer's vehicles and spare parts, even though the Customs agent had cleared the cargo. The suspect is alleged to have asked for K6, 000.
However the importer quickly contacted Customs who swiftly set up an operation to catch the suspect with the assistance from the Police Organised Crime Unit. Without having any knowledge of that operation, the officer arranged with a representative of the importer to meet at a food outlet at 4-mile at 3pm to deliver the cash. By, then Police and Customs Intelligence, Internal Affairs and Border Response officers had already stationed themselves in close proximity of the proposed meeting area.
The cash was then delivered to the suspect by the importer's staff, but the amount was only half of what the suspect had asked for. In the process of counting and complaining about the half payment, Police moved in and made the arrest. Police and Customs officers then escorted the suspect to Police headquarters at Konedobu where he was formally charged under Section 88 of the Criminal Code Act Chapter 262, before being transported to the Boroko Police station where he was locked up. His bail was set at K1, 000.
"This should act as a deterrent to anyone intending to, or are involved in corrupt practices," Mr. Pomoso stated. "The law will come down hard on anyone found to be involved in such activities and Customs is prepared to vigorously investigate and have them prosecuted."
Anyone with information on such practices can contact the Customs Internal Affairs Division on 3226898, email email@example.com, the Customs Border Response and Intelligence Sections on 3226894 or the Commissioner's office on 3226793.
MR. JOHN POMOSO
14 January 2012