The Fiji Revenue and Customs Services is concerned with the number of fishing vessels, that continue to smuggle highly taxed goods such as alcohol and cigarettes, as well as currencies into the country.
Last year – the Revenue and Customs Authority searched 68 fishing vessels berthed at the Suva Harbour.
The exercise was conducted after Customs Officers had profiled the vessels for a number of reasons, and considered that they may be a high border risk, or may be breaching legislative requirements.
FRCS CEO – Visvanath Das says, through these 68 rummages, a number of irregularities including undeclared alcohol and cigarettes, were discovered.
The teams also found undeclared currencies, environmentally damaging gas which is banned in Fiji, and most surprisingly 8 live puppies.
Das says in the 57 rummages that were carried out on fishing vessels from January 2018, 10 anomalies were discovered. These detections included high volumes of undeclared cigarettes and alcohol, as well as other dutiable items.
He adds during one of the rummages in February, Customs Officers also recovered more than 105 thousand litres of excess fuel, which was undeclared. Total duty collected during this rummage alone, was more than 34 thousand dollars.
Those found guilty of this offence are liable to a fine of 25 thousand dollars, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both – under section 137 of the Customs Act.