American Charged With Transporting Illegal Currency Into PNG

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Man also allegedly was carrying illegal Bougainville passport

By Donald Willie and Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 18, 2014) – American national Barry Keith Webb was charged yesterday by police and Customs officials for transporting 1.6 million in illegal currency into PNG.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reported that Webb was carrying counterfeit money, so called Bougainville kina, when detained at the Port Moresby airport. "Mr Webb had documents from King David Pei II who for years has claimed to head an independent Bougainville state based in the south of the province. The documents supposedly authorise Mr Webb to represent the central bank of this breakaway state."]

And Mr Webb, who arrived in Port Moresby to an awaiting PNG team from several parts of the country, including women and pastors, faces more charges from Immigration for having in possession a purported Bougainville passport, which was also illegal.

He will face more charges from the Bank of Papua New Guinea for allegedly breaching the Central Bank Act by possessing money which was not legal tender.

Webb arrived in Port Moresby on an Air Niugini flight from Manila at around 5am on Saturday and was pulled aside for questioning after an x-ray scan of the briefcase he was carrying revealed large amounts in cash. The briefcase contents were never declared by him even after he was specifically asked if he had anything to declare, to which he said: "No."

Customs Commissioner Ray Paul said the briefcase is now in their custody after it was seized under section 146 (1) (b) of the Customs Act as a prohibited import item.

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