Chinese businessman, customs official charged with corruption

03 Apr 2019 12:30pm
WINDHOEK, 03 APR (NAMPA) - The chief customs official in the Ministry of Finance, Leo Paulus, and owner of New Force Logistics Hou Xue Cheng appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on a charge of corruption on Monday.
They were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Friday after Paulus allegedly solicited two bribes of N.dollars 4 000 and N.dollars 5 000 from Hou.
A statement issued by the ACC on Tuesday said the case was remanded to 14 June 2019 for further investigation and the suspects were granted bail of N.dollars 30 000 each.
The customs official was allegedly responsible for the validation of the value of goods the Chinese national was importing and then allegedly indicated that he could lower the value afforded (on which the importer had to pay duties) to the goods against payment of a bribe, it read.
“The importer was unhappy in regard to the alleged unreasonably high values assigned to the goods by the customs official and suspecting that the customs official was running a scam in order to leverage a bribe from him, decided to approach the commission who then conducted a sting operation,” the statement said.
It further went on to say that Hou’s role in the matter is that he acted as the clearing agent and transporter of the goods.
He allegedly induced the whistleblower to pay the requested bribe and also allegedly fraudulently signed the customs agreement on determined value as if he was the importer and owner of the consignment.
Paulus was arrested on charges of contraventions of sections 43(1) (corruptly using office or position to obtain a gratification), while both men were also charged with contravening sections (35(3) (a) - knowingly using a document that contains a falsification to mislead.