FRCS Uncovers vehicle smuggling racket- staff sent home
The Fiji Revenue & Customs Service (FRCS) has uncovered what looks like a highly connected network of individuals working within the country with intent to make money from proceeds of criminal activities.
This after an Importer in the Western Division was recently investigated for allegedly smuggling four (4) Hilux vehicles into the country from overseas. These vehicles were imported between 2016 to 2019. Information has been ascertained that these vehicles were either reported stolen or were written off overseas thus the importation of this vehicles are prohibited under the Customs laws. The Revenue and Customs is also investigating two other suspected prohibited vehicle imports into the country.
“We uncovered the “modus operandi” being used is accident and insurance written-off vehicles are purchased and then the same number plates and road worthiness are used on illegally imported vehicles. We are collaborating with the Land Transport Authority to holistically crackdown on this illegal operation.”
“We are also investigating the fact that the vehicle frame or chassis numbers were altered and given a new look to conceal the alleged smuggling racket. All four vehicles have been detained by FRCS pending legal proceeding. Information received indicates that the vehicles came in a consignment marked as spare parts without any declaration of the vehicles”, Chief Executive Officer Mr. Visvanath Das said.
“‘During the process of investigations, two FRCS staff were also implicated as colluding to facilitate this illegal import. The Service has terminated their employment contracts instantaneously and is pursuing criminal prosecution”, CEO stated.
“We sought assistance from various Ministries, Private Sector Companies, the Australian Federal Police and Customs and the New Zealand Police and NZ Customs to investigate this matter. We realize that Border Security is a serious business and a collaborative approach should be taken with both local border agencies and international Customs Administrations globally to crack down on illegal activities. Under our Customs to Customs Cooperation arrangements intelligence sharing has intensified and we no longer work in isolation. While the Service is committed to facilitate trade, be rest assured that with the processes, systems and partnerships in place at the Border we will detect illegal activities”, Mr. Das said.
“We are grateful to credible Intelligence information received from the public in regards to the above smuggling case which led to the investigation and detention of vehicles. Members of the public are encouraged to report any Customs or Tax evasions or any unprofessional conduct by simply emailing to the Chief Executive Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or a letter addressed to him or you can also report it in person.