PNG Customs Officials, ‘Reputable’ Companies, Involved in Smuggling

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Commissioner says illegal syndicate uncovered, containers confiscated

By Benjamin Kuman

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 12, 2014) – Reputable international companies operating onshore are part of a cargo smuggling syndicate, says PNG Customs Commissioner Ray Paul.

Members of his own organisation PNG Customs and law enforcement agencies are also involved, he says.

Mr Paul made the claim yesterday after his officers confiscated 10 shipping containers and three prime movers at Port Moresby wharf last Wednesday.

He said his officers stepped in after realising that the necessary documents required for cargo removal from the port storage were forged.

"A good number of respected officials from Customs, the Port Services and Law enforcing agencies are party to the syndicate and we believe the chain will go on once those in the front line are put to light," he said.

Asked by the Post-Courier to disclose the names of the parties in the syndicate or the types of smuggling involved, Mr Paul refused to disclose names at this stage, adding he would make a public announcement in the media today.

"This comes as a result of our four-week festive operations, which is scheduled to end next week but depending on how things go we might allow it to run for some time," he said.

In response to the increasing number of illegal activities happening in and around the borders, the PNG Customs Service in partnership with Digicel PNG launched a free toll number in Port Moresby yesterday.

Mr Paul said the reason for this initiative was to allow the public to report any illegal activities concerning PNG Customs to the authorities.

He said the toll-free number is 70919000 and it will be in operation 24 hours a day and all matters reported will be recorded and processed.

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