2 men fined $15,000 for possession of contraband

National 1 minute, 22 seconds


TWO local men were imposed a $15,000 fine yesterday for dealing with contraband cigarettes worth about $2,400 in excise duties.

After pleading guilty to the charges before the Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Samrin Punggut/Pungut, 41, was imposed a $5,000 fine for possessing 14 cartons and 30 packets of cigarettes while co-accused Muhamad Safwan Jahidin, 22, was imposed a $10,000 fine for possessing 31 cartons and 33 packets and a bottle of wine.

Both Samrin and Muhamad Safwan were ordered to pay their fines within a grace period next year in March and August respectively.

If fines are unpaid, Samrin will have to serve five months in prison while Muhamad Safwan is to serve the in-default sentence of nine months in prison.

According to court documents, on September 29 this year, customs officers seized a total of 45 cartons and 63 packets of untaxed cigarettes and a bottle of wine during an inspection at a house in RPN Tanah Jambu where both men resided.

During the investigation, both men admitted upon questioning that the contraband belonged to them as they had bought it from Limbang, Sarawak in Malaysia.

They further admitted that they had intended to sell the cigarettes to customers.

They also admitted to knowing that possession of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks without a permit in Brunei is a contravention of customs regulation.

According to the law, those caught dealing with duty-unpaid goods can be fined between six times the amount of the excise duty or $40,000 whichever is the lesser amount and up to 20 times the amount of excise duty or $40,000 whichever is the greater amount.

The penalty for repeat offenders carries a fine or imprisonment not more than two years or both.

The Brunei Times