6 Dec 2010

Wine destroyed in Tonga for import rule breach

4:17 pm on 6 December 2010

More than 13,000 bottles of wine were crushed at a quarry in Tonga last week with a customs official saying the importer had been trying to circumvent licensing controls.

The Matangi Tonga website reports the wine was imported by the Tonga Rugby League.

The Deputy Commissioner of Revenue, Peter Nash, says at the time of importation the league didn't have a business licence to import alcohol or a trading licence to sell it, and as a consequence the shipment was seized.

He also says it was grossly under-valued and this was an obvious attempt to avoid excise duty and licensing controls.

The president of the Tonga Rugby League, Sosaia Moehau, told the website the wine was a donation from a brother of the owner of the wine company.

He says the government should have auctioned the wine off instead of destroying it.