Customs face raps over release of imported goods

AT LEAST five personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Northern Mindanao here will now be facing charges for allowing the unauthorized release of more than a hundred container vans containing imported goods at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, following the agency’s crackdown on syndicates operating in the region.

The BOC-Northern Mindanao employees were discovered they were allegedly behind the illegal discharge of about 104 container vans at MCT, said Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña on Saturday.

The bureau has yet to release the names of the involved personnel but they were caught committing the illegal act by using fake documents, said BOC-Northern Mindanao Collector Jamail Marohomsalic.

Lapeña was here over the weekend to witness the public viewing of the confiscated imported goods estimated to be worth P8.5 million, including used clothing and footwear from South Korea, sugar from Thailand and South Korea, and onions from China.

The seized refined white sugar were placed in six container vans having an estimated value of P8.7 million; onions, P7.6 million; and used clothing and shoes, P2.2 million.

Marohomsalic said the BOC central office issued an alert order and the confiscation of the imported goods after these were not properly declared.

The sugar, for instance, was declared in the import documents as boiler casings, and prefabricated steel and hatch panels.

Lapeña said the more than more than 3,000 sacks of sugar will be auctioned off while the other products will be destroyed.

The seized items, Lapeña said, is part of the BOC’s campaign “against syndicates operating inside and outside the bureau, in connivance with corrupt Customs personnel.”

He said they are now going after those Customs employees involved in the illegal discharge of the container vans.

“We are now investigating the missing 104 container vans, [which were] illegally released as part of the modus of some personnel. This illegal release was undertaken from February up to the present,” the Commissioner said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

Lapeña said he has already instructed the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service to “dig deeper and get to the bottom of this illegal activity” perpetrated by suspected syndicates.

He said all consignees involved in the illegal activity in MCT and other ports in the region will also be criminally charged.


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