Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » More logistics firm, ATI personnel charged over unlawful release of 105 alerted shipments

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed supplemental complaints with the Department of Justice (DOF) against more individuals in the unauthorized release of 105 alerted containers from the Port of Manila in view of the additional evidence gathered by its Investigation Division-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS).

BOC on May 4 charged additional personalities allegedly involved in the release without proper clearances and documents of 105 alerted containers that came from China, the agency said in a statement.

On March 22, BOC announced that it discovered on March 19 that the shipments, while their duties and taxes had been paid, violated Section 1400 (misdeclaration, misclassification, and undervaluation in goods declaration) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The shipments were then issued alert orders but were discovered to have already been withdrawn from the Port of Manila. BOC later found the shipments in warehouses in Bulacan.

On April 6, BOC filed charges against the owners, officials, and customs brokers of the six companies allegedly involved in the unauthorized release of shipments. The firms are Premiere Oak Lumber & Wood Products Corporation, Spectrum Highlands Marketing Corporation, Megaabundancesteel Indent Trading Corporation, Abundancegain Indent Trading Corporation, Paragon Platinum International Trading Corporation, and Imperialfoods and Agricultural Prod.

The additional individuals charged on May 4 are officers of Federal Fortunes Worldwide Logistics Services, as well as their agents (a.k.a. personeros), and another officer and employee of Port of Manila port operator Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI).

In addition, a certain “Kimberly,” who was later on identified by BOC investigators as a certain Julie Gamboa, has been included in the complaint after being identified by witnesses to be the person who contracted the services of a licensed customs broker and a trucking company for the shipments.

Gamboa was also reportedly identified as the person who dealt with the owner of the warehouse where the shipments—which were discovered to hold tiles—were found.

BOC said the supplemental complaint was filed in compliance with Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña’s directive to ensure that all perpetrators in the unauthorized release of the 105 containers are held responsible.

“I will make sure that each and every individual involved in this reprehensible act will pay. No stone shall be left unturned. I have instructed the CIIS and Legal Service to exhaust all resources to ensure that everyone responsible for this illegal act will be put to behind bars,” Lapeña said.

BOC earlier said that part of its protocol is to subject all alerted shipments to 100% examination before release.

“In the case of the 105 containers, the examinations were not conducted as the officers of the six corporations, with the assistance of their customs brokers and ATI all connived to secure the release of the containers from the ATI premises without the necessary examination,” Lapeña earlier said.

BOC said all the 105 alerted containers were released by ATI without the required lifting order authorized by the Customs commissioner. ATI has previously denied any wrongdoing when it released the shipments through its port.

“ATI released the containers after BOC issued a release instruction through the On-Line Release System (OLRS), part of BOC’s e2m Alert System, over which ATI does not have any control,” ATI said in a statement.

The port operator said that release through the OLRS means that all duties and taxes have been paid and that there are no holds on the container.

BOC said unauthorized withdrawal of these containers is a violation of Section 1401 (Unlawful Importation or Exportation) and Section 1424 (Removing Goods from Customs Custody) of the CMTA.

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