Bahrain: Customs Official Jailed for Smuggling Tobacco

Customs official jailed for smuggling tobacco.
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The Court of Appeals has upheld the sentence previously issued against an employee at the Customs Affairs who was convicted of attempting to smuggle illegal tobacco worth BD25,000. The 51-year-old appellant was sentenced, along with his 48-year-old accomplice (his brother), by the First High Criminal Court last November to three years imprisonment each.

The details of the case show that the appellant was found guilty of forging official documents in an attempt to facilitate the entry of banned tobacco products worth BD25,000 into Bahrain. The pair have been arrested in 2017 after the General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security received a tip-off on the appellant, who allowed a shipment to enter into Bahrain under the pretext that it was a clothes consignment coming from another GCC state. The eight boxes that the appellant authorised to enter the Kingdom consisted of banned tobacco products and not clothes, according to Prosecutors.

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The consignment was exposed after the driver who was delivering it reported to his superiors that there was an odd smell coming out of the boxes, although he was told that they were containing clothes. Subsequently, the appellant was summoned by his superiors because he was the one who checked the shipment and authorised it to enter the Kingdom. During the interrogation, the man pleaded not guilty saying: “I checked one of the boxes in the shipment and it contained clothes. Therefore, I approved it and authorised it to enter the country.”

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However, further investigation showed that the shipment belonged to the appellant’s brother, the second defendant, who owned an import company. “The second defendant used to bribe another Customs officer to allow many banned items to access to the Kingdom.

“But this time, he offered money to his brother (the appellant) and the latter accepted to help him,” a detective who was among those who investigated the case earlier told Prosecutors.

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