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Samoa customs officer denies signing clearance for smuggled whisky

A Customs officer denies she signed documents to release goods from a container in which bottles of whisky worth thousands of tala are believed to have entered the country last year.In the District Court Josephine Hunt, Assistant Customs Officer denies she signed the way bills to clear the goods from container BHCU3078686 parked at Island Freight last year.The director of Island Freight Levaopolo Talatonu Va’ai and staff member Christine Ainuu are on trial for allegedly smuggling in the whisky.There were four waybills mentioned in court and they were numbered 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004.The date noted on them was 22 December 2012, a Saturday. Customs staff do not work Saturdays, said Hunt.And that Saturday was the third anniversary of her mother-in-law’s headstone which she was busy with activities to mark the occasion, she said.The Assistant Customs officer told the court she’d gone to Island Freight on 4 March 2013 to discuss the matter with Christine Ainuu.Hunt said she’d told Ainuu their office was agitated about the matter.Ainuu said it won’t affect Hunt, Hunt testified.Of the original documents to release the goods in containers BHCU3078686 which she’d supposed to have signed, “Christine” told her she’d (Ainuu) lost them, Hunt said.Hunt denied she cleared goods over the phone or without the required C numbers; nor did she sometimes send the driver to pick up money for payments of duty.Toleafoa Solomona Toailoa, lawyer for Christine Ainuu, told Hunt that other witnesses will testify that many personal effects are cleared without the C numbers – and that Hunt released goods over the telephone and collected the money for the duty on them later.