Man awaits verdict for possession of over 100 cartons of cigarettes

National 2 minutes, 18 seconds


AN INDONESIAN man who pleaded guilty yesterday to possession of over 100 cartons of untaxed cigarettes will have his sentencing verdict heard on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old defendant, Moh Nawawi, could face a fine of up to 20 times the amount in excise duty or $40,000 whichever is the greater amount for the customs offence.

He may also face up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 after pleading guilty to the charge of obstructing police officers from carrying out their duty.

The court document submitted by prosecuting officer Muhammad Aiman Adri Ahmad Zakaria stated that two police officers were escorting a car driven by Moh to the police headquarters on April 6 when the defendant had refused to open the rear trunk of the vehicle during an inspection earlier.

However, when they reached the vicinity of Jalan Gadong, Liang Toon roundabout, Moh decided to escape from the police by taking a detour at the roundabout which led him towards the vicinity of Gate 25 runway, Brunei International Aiport. Moh came upon a gate and drove through it. He eventually crashed his car into a large drain.

When inspection was carried out on the car, police found a large amount of cigarettes in the rear trunk.

Further investigations by the Royal Customs and Excise Department revealed that the defendant had a total of 129 cartons and nine packets of cigarettes. The amount in duty to be paid for the cigarettes was $5,556.

In his mitigation yesterday, Moh told the presiding magistrate that he committed the offence to pay his debts from a friend by buying the items and dropping it off to customers. Moh is being held under the custody of Jerudong Prison.

Meanwhile, The Magistrates’ Court yesterday imposed a $22,720 fine on a man for possession of untaxed cigarettes.

The court document states that Azrul Azim Taher, 28, was found in possession of 59 cartons of cigarettes following a routine customs inspection on the car he was driving.

Customs officers from the Sungai Tujoh Control Post, Kuala Belait found the contrabands underneath the rear passenger’s seat and in a compartment at the rear passenger’s collapsible seat. The excise duty to be paid for the cigarettes was $2,840.

During investigations, Azrul admitted that he purchased all the cigarettes while in Miri, Malaysia.

The excise duty to be paid for the cigarettes was $2,840.

In his mitigation, Azrul told the court that he was unemployed and relied financial support from his father. He went on to say that he was selling the cigarettes to pay for his car loan.

Following the sentencing yesterday, Magistrate Azrimah Hj Abd Rahman ordered the defendant to settle the fines by December 31, or serve 12 months in jail with immediate effect for in-default of payment pending the sentencing on April 15.

The Brunei Times