Cigarette producers to be probed over fake stamps

Customs and Excise officers will investigate the possible involvement of cigarette producers in cases of fake tax stamps that have caused state losses of Rp 1 trillion (about US95 million), an official has said.

Director General of Customs and Excise Anwar Supriadi said on Saturday his side would trace cigarette producers who allegedly used the fake stamps. “It is possible there are big, well-known producers that bought and used the fake stamps.”

Anwar said cigarette producers found using fake stamps would be punished under the Criminal Code and have their licenses revoked, meaning that they could no longer produce cigarette legally.

He said the suspects could face a maximum eight-year prison sentence and a fine of 10 to 20 times the amount of tax for violating Law No. 39/2007 on excise duty.

He said the investigation of cigarette producers would be conducted following the arrest of suspects allegedly producing fake tax stamps in Jakarta, Tangerang and Surabaya last week.

“The crime, which has been committed for the last nine years, has caused almost Rp 1 trillion in losses,” he said.

Anwar said his officers received information about the stamp syndicate, which involved Surabaya resident identified only as BS alias Frans, late last year.

He said BS and his two employees were then arrested at his printing factory in Palmerah, West Jakarta and at a rented house in Lippo Karawaci housing complex, Tangerang respectively. He revealed his officers seized 515,580 fake stamps, seven rolls of paper to make the stamps, 92 ink cans, paper cutters, a printing machine and two luxury cars from the two locations. “From the arrests in Jakarta and Tangerang alone, the state suffered Rp 560 billion in losses.”

With cooperation between Surabaya Police and military officers, Anwar said his officers raided three houses belonging to BS in Surabaya and arrested BS’ family members, his wife and three children, and an employee. He said the officers confiscated 2 million fake stamps, seven rolls of holograms and a car belonging to a middle-ranking police officer.

“The car was used to transport the fake stamps from Jakarta to Surabaya,” Anwar revealed.

He said the police officer, who formerly worked at the East Java Police headquarters, was now at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta.

“The suspect has been handed over to the police. Let the police internal affairs handle the case,” Anwar said.

He said his officers are still hunting syndicate members operating in Jakarta, Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java.

He admitted the investigation of the fake stamps was conducted in an effort to realize a target income of Rp 54.9 trillion from cigarette taxes.

On Tuesday, the Malang Customs and Excise Office busted a syndicate selling fake cigarette tax tear tapes, incurring state losses of Rp 10.449 billion. The Customs and Excise officers detained four suspects, while they were still tracing the whereabouts of another person in Kudus, Central Java.

The customs office seized 2,100,000 series III fake cigarette tax tear tapes printed in 2008 for machine-rolled clove cigarettes (SKM) worth Rp 3.402 billion.

The officers also seized bank receipts of tax stamps sales since May 2008, worth Rp 7.047 billion, and a Honda Jazz sedan.

© Copyright: Thejakartapost

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