Customs to pay firm $85k in damages for spoiled goods

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The Fiji Revenue & Customs Service building in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU/FILE

The Comptroller of Customs, who is also the CEO of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, has been ordered by the High Court to pay $84,956.80 as damages to a Suva company.

The Comptroller of Customs had seized goods worth $8,144,856.80 and $1,271,616 on separate occasions that included compact discs (CD), digital versatile disks (DVD) and different brands of liquor that were imported by Jays Holding Ltd.

The company claimed that when the Comptroller of Customs returned the seized goods, they were damaged and could no longer be sold, resulting in losses to the company.

“The plaintiffs say that on September 2, 2014, the defendant instituted criminal case No. 1214/14 against the first and second plaintiffs. They were charged with four counts of possession of smuggled goods and four counts of fraudulent evasion of duty,” said Justice Javed Mansoor in his ruling.

“The plaintiffs say that the second plaintiff was interviewed during the period October 2014 to April 2015 concerning the charges against him, and was questioned regarding his records and business dealings. The criminal case was withdrawn on 15 April 2019.”

“Overall, the defendant did not show sufficient regard for the plaintiffs’ seized goods. Even after the High Court gave the defendant 14 days within which to return the goods, the defendant did not comply with the order.”

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