Bandar Seri Begawan - The Bandar Seri Begawan Magistrate's Court sent out a warning to fuel smugglers yesterday by imposing a jail sentence for the first time on an offender as deterrence against smuggling following a spike in such cases.
Ibrahim bin Haji Abu Bakar, aged 49, married with six children and self-employed, was handed three months' jail after he pleaded guilty to the offence of attempting to smuggle 126 litres of diesel fuel out of the country.
Chief Magistrate Hj Abdullah Soefri PD Hj Abidin stressed the seriousness of the offence and the alarming statistics as he upheld a custodial sentence to deter others, as opposed to fines which have been the norm in previous cases.
The court heard that Ibrahim's vehicle was monitored by Customs Preventive officers.
Observations revealed that the defendant had been purchasing fuel several times in a day nd travelled frequently back and forth between Brunei and Limbang, Sarawak.
On April 26, 2012, officers from the departments of Royal Customs and Excise, Internal Security and Land Transport conducted a thorough inspection when the defendant's vehicle arrived at the border control post that morning.
The defendant's vehicle was found to be carrying 126 litres of diesel fuel, 92 litres kept in an extended piping modification of the vehicle's tank.
The defendant admitted to selling the fuel in the neighbouring country and having done it for about a month earning over $1,000.
The diesel fuel was worth $39.06 based on Brunei's subsidised price of B$0.31 per litre.
Unsubsidised diesel fuel costs B$1.07 per litre.
The court ordered for the diesel fuel as well as the defendant's vehicle to be confiscated.
The court also granted the defendant's application for a stay of execution pending an appeal.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin