Alan Ah Mu
APIA: TUESDAY 16 APRIL 2013: Police have yet to finalise charges against the first person charged in connection with a probe into hundreds of bottles of illegal whisky.
The defendant, Christine Ainuu, 32, made her first appearance in court today, charged with falsifying documents.
An employee of Island Freight Ltd, a freight forwarding company, the defendant entered a plea of not guilty through counsel Toleafoa Solomona Toailoa.
But the Police Prosecutor informed District Court Judge, Mata Tuatagaloa, that the charges against the defendant had not been finalised and asked for an adjournment of one month for that to be done.
Justice Tuatagaloa granted the application and adjourned the matter to 14 May.
The defendant’s plea was withdrawn by the court.
Comptroller of Customs, Pitolau Lusia Leau revealed in a statement in March that about 918 cartons of whisky labeled “VAT 999 Whisky” and “Democrat Scotch Whisky,” had been seized.
An investigation by Customs and Police to identify the importer of the whisky, believed to have originated from a single container, had begun.
In her statement, Pitolau said:
Based on the information gathered thus far, the following things are confirmed:
• A large consignment of liquor has been smuggled into Samoa with false importation documents. The consignment was not declared to Customs on arrival.
• The consignment was imported without a liquor importer’s licence which is required by the Liquor Act 2011.
• The consignment ought to have attracted duties and taxes in the vicinity of SAT$200,000. This amount was evaded in this case.
• The delivery and sale of this liquor to local retailers is also in breach of the Liquor Act 2011, as this has also been done without a distributors licence.