Current Affairs
Customs Department registers record haul of contraband goods last year

Last year the Government’s income generated by the Customs Department was in excess of €447 million. However, over and above this income from duties and taxes, it was also a record year for the confiscation of contraband goods including falsely labelled products.

For revenue purposes Customs has an important role to play in the Government’s income. Statistics obtained by TVM show revenue generated by this Department exceeded €447 million, mainly Excise Duties and VAT as well as taxed imported goods. This was an increase of €20 million in revenue from the previous year, 2017.

When confiscations and seizures take place, these are followed up by legal proceedings. Seized contraband goods are eventually auctioned off ensuring the selling price includes Government tax. This was explained by David Brydon, the official responsible for Customs Department auctions.

Brydon said in recent times the goods mostly on auction are alcohol products such as wines. Obviously, these are among the goods most confiscated because these are highly taxed and therefore much targeted as contraband.

George Agius, a Manager at the Customs Department, said the Department does not auction falsely labelled goods because these are often subject to legal procedures. He said the value of such goods confiscated last year reached €44 million.

Agius said such goods are often subject to legal proceedings taken by the legal representative of the company of the authentic label with cases in the Civil Court and the result is that it is frequently ordered that such goods be destroyed.

He explained that such goods are normally not for the local market but are in transit at the Freeport en route to other countries.

George Agius said the Maltese Islands are located at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, very near to the African continent which is a market for such falsely labelled products. He said that drugs hauls are always destroyed on Court Orders.

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