Pet foods importer, customs broker accused of smuggling
The Bureau of Customs on Thursday filed a P474-million smuggling complaint against a pet foods importer and a customs broker at the Justice Department.
Honey Drops Marketing owner Leoby Castillo Leonidas and customs broker Isabelita Galera were found by the Customs investigators to have made “grossly undervalued” claims on the price of the pet foods the company imported during the last 15 months.
Customs investigators claimed the shipments were undervalued by more than 80 percent.
“An 80 percent undervaluation smacks of arrogance that offends in a special way because of implied assumption of impunity and untouchability which we will never allow,” Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said in a statement.
The complaint said that Honey Drops’ declared shipment had a per kilo value of only $.23 (P10.12), which turned out to be “way below” the $1.11 (P48.84) to $1.21 (P53.24) per kilo value declared by other importers of “exactly the same products.”
Honey Drops had 139 import entries between March 2010 and June 2011 with a combined dutiable value of only P92.6 million, paying only P4.6 million in duties and another P12.2 million in value added taxes.
However, an investigation by the bureau’s Run-After-the-Smugglers (RATS) group established that the real dutiable value of Honey Drops’ various importations was P474.5 million, for which the company should have paid P23.5 million in duties and P59 million in value added taxes.
Customs Deputy Commissioner and RATS Executive Director Gregorio Chavez said that Honey Drops evaded paying the correct duties by using falsified invoices “to support the gross undervaluation of its pet foods shipments.”
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