An Auckland businessman caught falsifying documents to illegally import sea containers has been fined $30,000.
Fifty-three-year-old Sanjive Ramavtar Kapoor, manager and owner of Divine Logistics Limited, was sentenced in the Manukau District Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to three charges related to the offending.
Kapoor was caught by an off-duty Ministry for Primary Industries senior quarantine officer, who observed an imported sea container being unpacked outside a private address near Māngere Bridge, Auckland on December 17, 2018.
Sea containers imported into New Zealand must be sent to registered sites and opened at Approved Transitional Facilities (ATFs) to ensure any biosecurity risk is addressed.
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The Māngere Bridge address was not an ATF and was not authorised to receive imported sea containers.
A subsequent investigation found Kapoor had redirected containers 22 times between June 21, 2018, and January 31, 2019. Kapoor admitted to opening and unpacking 12 containers.
It was also found Kapoor had falsified 20 of the container log sheets he gave to the MPI investigators.
MPI compliance investigations north regional manager Simon Anderson said Kapoor's non-compliance posed a risk to biosecurity.
"The prosecution is a reminder for importers that MPI will take appropriate action when offending is detected. Attempting to cover up their activities by providing MPI investigators with falsified documents makes the offending much more serious," he said.
"The rules are there for a reason. Imported sea containers can carry unwanted and highly destructive pests and diseases. The introduction of these organisms could have a significant, and potentially devastating, impact on New Zealand's economy."