November 8, 2017 – Walvis Bay, Namibia
Namibian Customs officials in conjunction with Walvis Bay Municipal Authorities were presented with the problem of disposing of the largest counterfeit alcohol seizure this year. Last month as part of a World Custom Organization initiative that included nineteen Customs Administration and Ports in Africa, the Namibian Customs Agency uncovered 1.5 Million Dollars (USD) of Counterfeit Liquor Brands. The over two truckloads full of fake liquor was uncovered in a custom clearing house awaiting transportation to its destination in Zimbabwe.
This large seizure of fake alcohol, all of which was replicating popular brands by Diageo, the world’s foremost spirits producer, took a circuitous route. The shipment received at Walvis Bay, Namibia originated in the USA through Dubai, indicating that there is a major counterfeit alcohol enterprise operating that has access to a USA Port. The 95,000 bottles of fake Johnnie Walker Red Label, Johnnie Walker Black Label and Smirnoff Vodka discovered at the Walvis Bay Customs House had authentic looking, bottles, labels, caps, boxes and cartons signifying that the fake alcohol production facility in the USA with access to an American Port of Call is an organized operation.
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The Customs Officials who seized the large shipment of fake liquor that was awaiting final transport to Zimbabwe were under the direction of the World Customs Organization. A Network of Intelligence Agents led to the discovery of the large cache of fake whiskey and vodka. The Customs Clearing Agent and his storage facilities continue to be under investigation as well as the Customs Officers that are regularly assigned to the Walvis Bay Port of entry. Diageo lawyer Paul Ramara said that the counterfeiter in Zimbabwe, along with the customs clearing house and agent would be pursued legally, with no mention of the USA origins. He did say, “We are extremely delighted at Namibian customs’ diligent efforts to seize the contraband. It took us by surprise, but we are happy that we have stopped this from entering the market. The action by Namibian customs has dealt a big blow to this criminal scheme,”
The confiscated dodgy booze filled two flatbed trucks, leaving the Customs Office and the Municipal Authority in a storage and protection predicament. With the evidence documented, photographed and cataloged a decision was made to destroy the fake liquor. Municipal Officials at first proposed emptying the liquid from the counterfeit liquor bottles, however the logistics of emptying 95,000 bottles became a consideration. The two truckloads of bad booze were transported under guard to the Walvis Bay landfill where they were bulldozed into the earth under the supervision of acting customs and excise commissioner Thandi Hambira.
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