By CHESTER ROBARDS
A JUICE classification error at importation has left Bahamas Food Services (BFS), arguably this nation’s leading food wholesaler, with a hefty Customs duty bill that sources say borders on a six-figure sum.
Don Carnine, Bahamas Food Services (BFS) general manager, yesterday confirmed that the wholesale food distributor racked up a large import duty bill after the Customs Department found that a juice it was importing was improperly classified, leaving them paying less than they should.
Now, the company has been forced to correct the error by paying the extra duties on the past imports.
Mr Carnine said the juice’s classification had been under investigation for almost one year. Tribune Business was not told what kind of juice caused the problem.
Mr Carnine said his company had since developed a payment plan to bring the bill to a zero balance.
“We are on a payment schedule with them, and an agreement that is in place,” he said. “It is just a normal business transaction between us.”
Comptroller of Customs, Glenn Gomez, said the Customs Department had become much more vigilant in looking for small errors on importation documentation, which could ultimately cost the Government thousands of dollars if allowed to persist for a long period of time.
Mr Gomez said BFS’s juice query was taken all the way to the World Customs Organisation in Brussels, in order to properly classify the juice and ensure the correct duties were paid.
According to Mr Gomez, post-importation checks were not done regularly at the department in the past. However, he said they are being done much more often to prevent the fate that befell BFS.
He said people often try to falsely classify commodities in order to pay lower duties on them, which could be overlooked by Customs officials bogged down with long lines. There is nothing to suggest, though, that this happened in BFS’s case.
He added that the post-importation checks reduce the risk of the Customs Department losing revenues in this way.
“It’s a part of being more vigilant, but should have been happening all along,” said Mr Gomez.
“They had relaxed doing it over the past several years, but we instituted that it be done much more often.”
Amazed at how Bahamians follow every spin put out by politicians. I wonder how many of them took the time to read the justices ruling. The ruling is well written, well reasoned and sets out clearly why they allowed Voter F’s vote. They dont understand that Duane Sands could not win having conceded two of the voters. The best he could have done was to tie. The FNM are quarelling over whether Pinder should have one by two or three votes, because their candidate could not have won. Certainly the voter who lived with her husband had to be counted and for sure the voter’s whose name was taken off the registerfter the close of the register couldnt be discounted. All the FNM then is arguing about is whether they should have lost by two or three votes. The judges clearly point out that the test was not whether the voter was properly registered but whether she was entitled to be properly registered and entitled to vote. Once there was evidence that she lived in the Constituency since 2006, and the FNM did not dispute that, her vote had to be valid. Bahamians should sto being led by their noses by politicians who dont knowthe law, hardly ever practised in the Courts. Wake up Bahamians, use your noggins for a change. Read and be enlightened insteadof taking everything ignorant politicians say.
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