By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Police officers investigating the alleged production of illegal cigarettes by a Chinese owned company in Port Moresby have withdrawn the court case.
On Thursday, February 21, the Waigani District Court ordered that the case against Golden Borough Limited be withdrawn after police made submissions to remove the matter.
This case involves the alleged manufacturing and repacking of an American cigarette brand, Marlboro, at a warehouse at Kennedy Estate, outside Port Moresby.
Police officers from the Drugs and Vice Squad division raided the premises on January 25 and uncovered a large number of cigarettes repackaged and ready for distribution.
Inside the warehouse, the machines used for manufacturing cigarettes were also sighted with a sign that read, Customs Restricted Area. Hours after the raid, Golden Borough Limited obtained a court order that prevented police from continuing their investigation.
The matter was first mentioned on February 8th and went before senior District Court Magistrate Cosmas Bidar.
Two weeks after, police made submissions to remove the case because of the legality of the search warrant which was obtained in the first place, and
the Waigani District Court has ordered that the case be withdrawn.
In January, after police raided the warehouse, PNG Customs came out defending the operations of the Chinese Company, while the Immigration and Border Security Minister issued deportation orders for the 17 Chinese nationals who were employed by Golden Borough Limited to depart Papua New Guinea.
Now that the case has been withdrawn from the courts, EMTV News has contacted Immigrations seeking clarity over the status of the 17 Chinese nationals.
EMTV News will continue to follow this story.