ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Custom and Excise Division has warned perpetrators who continue to present fraudulent invoices at the port of entry when doing business that it “will not be business as usual.”
The charge came from Comptroller of Customs Raju Boddu, who told OBSERVER Media that the division will be taking a hard-line approach to tackling this “age old problem.”
Boddu said the fines for this illegal activity have increased significantly as the division continues to go after offenders.
He pointed out that some of the fraudulent documents were printed in Antigua & Barbuda.
“We are trying our best. This is a problem which is known to everybody and we are not sparing any effort to book the culprits and we are charging heavy fines,” Boddu said.
He further indicated that the same rule would apply to repeat offenders.
In April of last year the division dealt with a similar situation from importers who undervalue their products.
Acting Comptroller at that time Philmore Williams announced plans to go after these individuals. The move came as part of the Customs Renewal Information Process.
The process involved the training of staff to deal with valuation and invoices to identify such discrepancies and in March of this year special trained officers were assigned by the department to continue the vigilance process.
Section 31 under Part IV of the Customs (Control & Management) Act, 1993, prescribes penalties for various offences on the improper importation of goods into Antigua & Barbuda.
These penalties include the forfeiture of goods; a fine of $5,000 or three times the value of the goods whichever is the greater amount; and/or imprisonment for a period of up to 12 months.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)