SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man was on Thursday (Jan 14) sentenced to a fine of S$6,000, in default 30 days’ imprisonment, for submitting falsified documents to Singapore Customs relating to two shipments of cigarettes.
Ekbal Din Shaik Dawood, 52, is the sole proprietor of freight forwarding business Turino Export Import.
The company exported the two shipments of cigarettes from Singapore to the United Kingdom in January and February last year, stating in documents known as the bills of lading (BLs) that they contained only Milo powder.
The shipments were found to contain 1,938 cartons of cigarettes, in addition to the Milo powder, and were seized by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs of the UK.
“Singapore Customs initiated an investigation and requested Turino for the documents relating to the two shipments,” the agency said in a media release.
“Ekbal submitted two BLs to Singapore Customs, which stated that the shipments contained cigarettes and Milo powder," it added.
“The two BLs submitted by Ekbal to Singapore Customs were found to be different from the original BLs provided by the shipping line and booking agent, which stated that the shipments only contained Milo powder.”
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Further investigations found that Ekbal had submitted the falsified documents at the instructions of an unknown man who had engaged him to set up Turino.
“By allowing the man to use Turino as the exporter of the two shipments, Ekbal had facilitated the transnational smuggling of two shipments of cigarettes from Singapore to the United Kingdom,” Singapore Customs said.
Mr Goh Hoon Lip, head of Singapore Customs’ Trade Investigation Branch, said that clamping down on such activities is key to retaining Singapore’s status as a well-regarded centre of international trade.
“Singapore Customs does not condone the use of our port and logistics facilities for transnational smuggling,” Mr Goh said.
“Stern actions will be taken against errant traders to maintain Singapore’s status as a trusted global trade hub.”
For submitting falsified documents to Singapore Customs, Ekbal could have been fined up to S$10,000 - or the equivalent of the amount of duty and Goods and Services Tax payable, whichever amount was greater - or jailed for up to 12 months, or both.