The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday announced that it had secured its first conviction in the Court of Tax Appeals—that of a trader who had tried to defraud the government of taxes and duties totaling P1.7 million by misdeclaring a vehicle shipment from South Korea four years ago.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said Roel Paquit Sayson had been found “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” of violating the Tariff and Customs Code for declaring a shipment of 15 cars as replacement parts for used trucks in February 2008.
Sayson was meted out a penalty of eight to 12 years’ imprisonment and a fine of P8,000, Biazon said.
Records showed that Sayson declared in two bills of lading that he was importing truck parts but it was found that the shipment consisted of 12 Kia Sportage SUVs. Another bill of lading indicating used truck parts from Korea was found to actually be three Hyundai Galloper SUVs.
The taxes and duties for the imported items totaled P1,779,770.61.
Biazon said Sayson’s conviction was a result of the efficient handling and prosecution of the case by the legal service lawyers under the BOC’s Run After the Smugglers (RATS) program.
He said the conviction sent a strong signal to the public that the BOC was focused on an “unrelenting and unwavering” campaign against customs violators and other tax cheats.