30 July 2010 - The Customs & Trade Division of the Ministry for Revenue Services has been undertaking an operation targeting high risk sea freight consignments to detect the introduction of counterfeit goods, under-valued or misdescribed goods and other breaches of Customs legislation. The Honourable Sione Teisina Fuko, Minister for Revenue advised today that operation "Bullet" had been operating since ih June 2010.
"The operation has been an outstanding success" the Minister said. "Since its commencement customs staffhave seized $330,000 worth of goods, in addition to counterfeit cosmetics, DVDs, and sporting equipment. The operation is continuing with Tonga customs being supported by technical advisers from New Zealand and Australia." The Minister said that Operation "Bullet" is an important element of an overall thrust to improve the compliance of the trading community with customs legislation and requirements. Importers who breach customs' law will have their consignments seized, and they also face the risk of prosecution, and possibly having their business licences revoked as a consequence.
The Minister advised that importers should ensure that only documents that accurately portray the value and contents oftheir consignments are lodged with Customs. Any documents that are detected as being untrue or misrepresentative of the actual contents or value of a particular consignment, will automatically result in that importation being seized. The Minister also advised that seized goods would not be disposed of through auction, but destroyed. 'This prevents recalcitrant traders from regaining possession oftheir goods" he said.
The Minister said "A level playing field is important for the trading community, to be able to operate without unfair competition from unscrupulous traders who flaunt customs laws. Customs will conliln~o take strong action against illegal activity with my full support"
Released and Authorised by the Hon. Sione Teisina Fuko, Minister for Revenue.