MAGISTRATE/COURT FINES K1,000.00 ON ILLEGAL CHERRY COFFEE BUYER

JOHN SUPA – Public Relations Officer, Coffee Industry Corporation Ltd. 14th July 2016

Goroka District Court Senior Magistrate Gerard Vetunawa, on Wednesday (13/07/16), convicted and fined a man K1,000.00 or in default to serve 6 months imprisonment for breaching regulations under the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) Statutory Powers & Functions Act, 1991.

The defendant Timothy Jona aged 30 of Kimi in Okapa, Eastern Highlands Province was arrested during a joint Police and CIC operation two weeks ago at Ifiufa Village outside of Goroka, for illegally buying cherry coffee. He was arraigned under Section 21 (1) of the CIC Statutory Powers & Functions Act, 1991 and released on a Police Bail of K500.00.

Jona pleaded guilty before Magistrate Vetunawa last week and the case was adjourned to Wednesday for sentencing. In his pre-sentencing remarks before a packed courtroom, Mr Vetunawa also warned other illegal coffee dealers that;

“The Coffee Industry Corporation is a legally regulated industry”.
“Like any other industries, CIC is one such institution that is empowered by an Act of Parliament to deal with the coffee industry alone and nothing else”.
“CIC is the ultimate Boss to regulate and maintain coffee quality”  
“Paramount obligation of CIC is to export quality coffee to its overseas destinations – not substandard quality of coffee”.
“No Tom, Dick and Harry should try to breach the CIC Act”
“No one should compromise quality of coffee through breaching rules and regulations under the CIC Act”.
“If quality is there the farmer will get good money, no quality means no money or less money”

Senior Police Prosecutor Sergeant Joe Pipi, who prosecuted the case, expressed satisfaction, saying the Court had realised the importance of what the CIC was doing to enforce rules and regulations, all for the good of the coffee industry in PNG. Sergeant Pipi said the maximum penalty under Section 21 (1) of the CIC Act was imposed upon the defendant.

Should Jona is in default of the K1,000.00 fine , he faces 6 months imprisonment at the Bihute prison outside Goroka. Jona’s coffee weighing scale and over 500kgs of cherry coffee that were confiscated during his arrest were forfeited to CIC under the same Court order.

Under a joint agreement signed between Police Commissioner Gary Baki and CIC Chief Executive Officer, Charles Dambui, both Police and CIC Officers are currently engaged in a bipartisan approach towards enforcing the CIC’s Cherry Trade Ban policies.