WINDHOEK - The Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) last Friday arrested a chief customs official employed by the Ministry of Finance for allegedly soliciting two bribes amounting to N$9 000 from an importer of goods into Namibia.
The ACC reported that one of the bribes involved N$4 000 and another one was for N$5 000 from a Chinese importer of goods to Namibia. ACC chief public relations officer Josefina Nghituwamata said the anti-graft body carried out a sting operation that culminated in the arrest of a 49-year-old chief customs official employed by the Ministry of Finance. During the same operation, the ACC also arrested the Chinese national when he fraudulently signed the “Customs Agreement on Determined Value” form, pretending that he was the importer and owner of the consignment.
The duo appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The case was remanded to June 14 for further investigations and the suspects were both granted bail of N$30 000 each.
The customs official has been identified as Leo Paulus, while the 42-year-old Chinese national who is the owner of New Force Logistics, is Hou Xue Cheng.
Nghituwamata said the Windhoek-based customs official was allegedly responsible for the validation of the values of the goods that the Chinese national was importing and then allegedly indicated that he could lower the value afforded (on which the importer had to pay duties) to the goods against payment of a bribe. “The importer was unhappy in regard to the alleged unreasonably high values assigned to the goods by the customs official, and suspecting that the customs official was running a scam in order to leverage a bribe from him, decided to approach the commission who then conducted a sting operation,” Nghituwamata noted.
She explained that Hou’s role in the matter was that he acted as the clearing agent and the transporter of the imported goods.
He allegedly induced the whistle-blower to pay the requested bribe and also allegedly fraudulently signed the “Customs Agreement on Determined Value” form as if he was the importer and owner of the consignment.
Paulus was arrested on charges of contravention of section 43(1) (corruptly use office or position to obtain a gratification) and section (35(3) (a) (person knowingly uses a document that contains a falsification to mislead) as well as section 46 (person induces another to commit a corrupt practice as set out in Chapter 4 of the Anti-Corruption Act) of the Anti-Corruption Act, Act No. 8 of 2003.
The ACC calls on other importers of goods who may have had similar encounters with customs officials to approach the commission with information.
2019-04-04 08:31:51 17 days ago