A former director of a freight forwarding company was sentenced by the State Courts on 3 May 2019 to a fine of $109,000, or in default, 95 weeks and 45 days of imprisonment, for making incorrect declarations and causing incorrect declarations to be made to Singapore Customs, and breaching a condition imposed on permits issued by Singapore Customs.
In a press release on Thursday (9 May), Singapore Customs said that Lim Boon Kheng, 52, former director of Akarui Pte Ltd, pleaded guilty to 26 charges. While another 44 charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.
A total of 186,817 cartons of cigarettes, 25,662kg of tobacco products and 57,464 bottles of liquor were seized and ordered to be forfeited by the court.
The authority stated that investigations revealed that in 2014, Lim had provided incorrect information to a declaring agent about the port of discharge for the export of three shipments of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Based on the information provided by Lim, the declaring agent made three incorrect declarations to Singapore Customs.
Between 2016 and 2017, Lim also wrongly declared details of the shipping company, goods description, and quantity of goods in 13 permit applications to Singapore Customs. These permits were for the transhipment of liquor and tobacco products through Singapore. However, Lim made the declarations to Singapore Customs despite knowing that the details were incorrect.
According to the authority, other than submitting incorrect declarations to Singapore Customs, Lim also breached a Customs permit condition on 10 occasions when he stored dutiable liquor and tobacco products in the Keppel Free Trade Zone after removing them from a licensed warehouse, instead of exporting them.
The permit condition had required that the goods must be stored in a place approved by Singapore Customs if they were not exported and Lim had failed to do so.
“It is the responsibility of freight forwarders and declaring agents to exercise due diligence when making declarations on behalf of their customers. They should submit complete and accurate information when making permit declarations and comply with all conditions imposed on the approved permits,” said Assistant Director-General (Intelligence & Investigation) Yeo Sew Meng.
“Singapore Customs will take stern actions against errant traders to maintain Singapore’s reputation as a trusted global trade hub,” he added.
Under the Customs Act, any person who makes any declaration which is untrue, incorrect or incomplete will be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or the equivalent of the amount of the customs duty, excise duty or tax payable, whichever is the greater amount, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12
months, or both.
Any person who breaches any condition and restriction for which a licence or permit is granted will be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000.