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Jan 31, 2002

Customs: Zabaneh’s cars not legal

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It was not a major topic at the sub-committee meeting, but it should be remembered not all crimes in Belize involve violence…and not all crimes are prosecuted with equal zeal. A case in point dates back to November twenty-first when police confiscated eleven late model vehicles from a warehouse on a Stann Creek banana farm owned by John Zabaneh. The vehicles, which still sit at the police training school in Belmopan, remain impounded on suspicion of illegal importation. And what of the case against the importer? Comptroller of Customs Omar Sabido today told News 5 that his department’s investigation has been concluded and there is absolutely no record of the vehicles entering Belize legally. Despite that conclusion, customs is allowing Zabaneh “reasonable time” to produce documents proving the vehicles are legit. We are made to understand that if such proof is not produced by March the matter will be handed over to the customs legal department for action. Since the vehicles were removed from his property, Zabaneh has maintained that he has done nothing wrong and that the whole affair is as a result of a communications mix-up with customs officials.

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