22 Oct 2008

Customs officer in Samoa reprimanded for clearing police patrol boat

11:20 am on 22 October 2008

A Principal Customs officer in Samoa says a senior Customs officer was reprimanded for clearing the police patrol boat, the MV Nafanua, after a voyage from American Samoa last April.

The Principal Customs officer was before a commission of inquiry investigating the involvement of the Police Commissioner, the crew of the boat, and Customs in the smuggling of firearms from American Samoa.

He was told to carry out an internal investigation into the performance of customs officer, Maui Alama Mose, who cleared the patrol boat without the necessary documents.

The principal officer told the inquiry that by law the person responsible for the Customs forms to be completed is the master of any incoming vessel.

Meanwhile, Maui Alama Mose, says the captain did not have the required clearance documents when the boat arrived.

But he decided to clear the vessel using his discretion after consulting a senior quarantine and health officers.

The captain of the vessel, who is alleged to have known that there was a package onboard which contained firearms will give evidence today followed by the Police Commissioner, Papalii Lorenese Neru.