Friday, 1 July 2011

Seized tobacco to be auctioned off

Stored by RGP
GIBRALTAR (GibChronicle) The Gibraltar Government plans to sell large quantities of cigarettes seized by local law enforcement agencies during anti-smuggling operations. At present those cigarettes are destroyed but the Government has published a proposed legislative amendment that will enable it to auction the confiscated goods. The auctions will only be open to persons who are in possession of a valid wholesale licence and the proceeds will be paid into the consolidated fund. The change comes against the background of a crackdown on tobacco smuggling, which has surged in recent months on the back of high unemployment in the Campo de Gibraltar. The Royal Gibraltar Police and HM Customs (Gibraltar) have both intensified their anti-smuggling efforts, as have law enforcement agencies in Spain. They are targeting the border area, housing estates and areas of town where people gather to buy and conceal cigarettes before heading across to Spain. The aim is to disrupt and deter those involved.>>>The amended law will enable the Government to create additional revenue for the public purse as a result of the crackdown. At least some of that revenue will likely be channelled back into law enforcement, the Chronicle understands. The proposed amendment to the Tobacco Act 1997 seeks “…to provide the Government with the power to dispose of cigarettes by way of an auction when these have come into its possession by virtue of these having been forfeited by court order or otherwise come into the possession of the police or customs,” the text of the amendment states.

Only cigarettes of merchantable quality will be sold at auction. If the cigarettes are not fit for sale, they will be destroyed.

The Bill for the proposed amendment was published last week and has yet to be presented and debated in Parliament.

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