Wednesday , April 25, 2018

P3.2-B cigarettes with fake stamps seized in Bulacan

SAN ILDEFONSO, Bulacan -- Operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) swooped down Friday on two warehouses here found to be housing hundreds of master cases of cigarettes with fake tax stamps and worth P3.2 billion.

The warehouses, located along Kilometer 64 in Barangay Matimbubong, contained 160,000 master cases of Mighty cigarettes, said Captain Joenel Pogoy, who conducted the raid in coordination with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), local police and barangay officials.

The first warehouse contained 145,000 master cases of cigarettes, with an estimated value of P2.9 billion.

Inside the second facility, the raiding team found 15,000 master cases worth around P300 million.

Using the BIR Stamp Verifier, the team confirmed that the cigarettes had been marked with fake tax stamps.

It was not yet clear who leased the said warehouses.

Mighty and Marvel products are known to be manufactured by Mighty Corporation, authorities said.

Sources said that Mighty Corporation lawyers made representations with Customs officials after the raid.

Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon estimated that the cigarettes with fake stamps may owe the government some P2.5 billion in excise taxes.

The two warehouses were sealed with new padlocks and secured by four BOC personnel.

Faeldon said that BIR officials would now need to come in and make their own inventory and investigation on the said products for proper action.

The Friday raid even yielded a bigger volume of cigarettes worth billions than the raid previously conducted in San Simon, Pampanga.

Earlier this month, BOC personnel from Metro Manila and Pampanga conducted a surprise inspection of warehouses inside the San Simon Industrial Park. It resulted in the discovery of suspected fake cigarettes worth some P2 billion.

BOC agents swooped down on warehouses at Block 3 Lot 19, Block 9 Lot 6 and Block 8 Lot 15. The four warehouses yielded hundreds of products of Mighty Corporation.

The BIR already filed a P9.564-billion tax evasion case before the Department of Justice against Mighty Corporation and its officials for using bogus tax stamps on their products to evade the payment of excise taxes to the government.

Faeldon has said the bureau would intensify its campaign again smuggling and all other forms of illicit trade that continues to deprive the government of revenues.

“We will not stop in our efforts to weed out those engaged in pernicious activities that undermine and derail the government’s reform agenda,” said Faeldon.

“We are ready to use all available options in the investigation of erring companies, including those engaged in the oil and motor vehicle trade, to make sure we control all forms of revenue leaks that get in the way of hitting revenue targets of the BOC,” he added. (SunStar Pampanga)