JOINT PRESS RELEASE BETWEEN TONGA CUSTOMS, INLAND REVENUE AND
POLICE, 15 MARCH 2017
Tonga Customs, Inland Revenue and Tonga Police raided prominent business suspected of unlawfully importing gold jewellery
Statement to be attributed to Chief Executive Officer of Tonga Customs and Revenue, Mr. ‘Anisi Kulufeinga Bloomfield.
At around 0800 hours on Saturday 11 March 2017, more than 50 members of the Tonga Customs, Inland Revenue and Tonga Police executed search warrants on the business premises and a residential dwelling in search of uncustomed goods. The Tonga Customs initiated this operation code named: Operation Sparkling in responding to mounted intelligence and investigation.
This search resulted in the seizure of the following items:
- Uncustomed jewel items over TOP$230,000
- Cash and cheques over TOP$6,500
- Herbal medications
- Electronic devices
- One firearm
- 1480 ammunitions
These jewellery items including 9 – 22 carat gold jewelry, diamonds and pearls were located at the dwelling house with price tags varied from TOP$100 – TOP$1600. It is alleged that these uncustomed items are to be of Asian origin and were smuggled into country through passengers of commercial flights without declaring at the border.
These items were smuggled into Tonga to be further traded in his licensed premises. The total value of these jewellery items are over TOP$230,000. The total duty evaded by this company is approximately TOP$80,000.
This business has been operating for more than 6 years but has no Customs records of imports of jewellery by the business or its owners. The Tonga Customs has vested interest in this situation as these jewellery items were being sold as imported goods and offered for commercial exchange at comparable prices without any payment of duties or taxes.
The CEO of Customs and Revenue, Mr. Bloomfield said that he is impressed with robust and collaboration efforts of the core law enforcement agencies in sharing resources and capabilities.
He is determined to strengthen their cooperation.
The Tonga Customs in partnership with Tax Authorities and Tonga Police are continuing in their enforcement efforts to investigate entities who continue to breach the Customs laws across the islands of Tonga.