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New directive regarding Customs fines at Lomé, Togo

A directive concerning settlement of Customs fines has been introduced in Lomé, Togo.

The Head of Port Customs in the city of Lomé in the West African country of Togo has issued a new directive concerning Customs fines that came into force on 17th December 2003.

The directive regulates settlement of fines for discrepancies between outturned and manifested cargo in two aspects. Firstly, negotiations for settlement of the fine must take place within 21 days of receipt of the outturn report and secondly, payment must take place within eight weeks of the date of the end of negotiations.

In case the fine is not settled in accordance with the directions set out above, it will be calculated authoritatively and Customs will impose the fine unabated. This will consequently lead to blocking of all present and future activities of the ship’s agents and owners in the port until the fine has been settled in its entirety.

In cases involving apparent discrepancies between the final outturn and the manifest, the directive requires the ship’s agents to take great care in ensuring compliance with the time limits set out in the directive.

As a result of this new directive, local ships’ agent may feel more directly exposed to such fines and may, as a result, look to their principals, the shipowners, to secure them against such liability. The directive may also mean that agents are likely to seek to settle and pay fines without undue delay.

Members are urged to ensure that their agents advise the local Club correspondent of such a fine as soon as possible, enabling them to ensure that all such fines are resolved in accordance with the directive.

We are grateful to Messrs ETIC Marseille for the above information.

Any comments to this article can be e-mailed to the Gard News Editor.

Gard News is published quarterly by Gard Services AS, Arendal, Norway.