Customs: Man charged Suspended

Customs & Excise Comptroller Herman St Helene says the department helped the police bring in man accused of acting as a customs officer.

This week the police released a statement about a 28-year-old man from Barre St Joseph who was charged for the offence of obtaining property by deception. The man appeared in court on Wednesday this week and was placed on bail.
The police stated that on August 10th the man “in his capacity as a Customs Officer, visited the residence of Trevor Evans of Austin Hill, Deniere Riviere, Dennery and reportedly informed him of his failure to possess the necessary customs documents with reference to his motor cycle.”
Reports further indicate that the man allegedly obtained a sum of money from Evans as an alternative to the confiscation of the motor cycle. After investigations of the matter police said the “customs officer” surrendered himself.
But the Customs and Excise Department has come out to dispel parts of the police statement. In a letter signed by Comptroller of Customs Herman St Helene the department claims that the man charged for deception was not an active customs officer at the time of the incident. St Helene states the man’s authority to perform as a Customs Officer was withdrawn as of December 10, 2009 after he was arrested on December 9, 2009 for the offence of stealing by reason of his employment.
“By letter dated May 7, 2010 from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Public Service [named deleted] was suspended from the Public Service until further notice to facilitate the investigation. [Name deleted] was still on suspension and has no authority to perform any duties as a Customs Officer until this matter is resolved by the courts.”
St Helene said that it was “erroneous” for the police to state that the man was acting as a Customs officer and ironic since the charge of deception means he was charged for pretending to have authority.
The Comptroller added that the Customs department had collaborated with the police in bringing in the man on the charge of unlawful assumption of character of Comptroller or Officer, a violation of Section 104 od the Customs Act that is currently being processed against the accused man.
“Therefore,” said St Helene, “I would like to take this opportunity to assure the general public that the department always takes and will continue to take decisive action against indiscipline and illegality, especially when it involves one of the staff members of this critically law enforcement and revenue collection organization.”
The case is scheduled for September 12.

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