Siane Cherry Ban Arrests

By Reserve Police Sergeant JOHN SUPA – Public Relations Officer – CIC Ltd, Goroka         

Two men from Siane Local Level Government (LLG) in the Chuave District of Simbu Province, arrested and charged last week for illegal cherry coffee trading, will appear before the Kundiawa District today (Tuesday 27th September 2016), and know their fate.

The duo, CONSCO TOM aged 36 of Fuka Village and ROAPO WILLIE aged 19 of Fomo Village, both in Ward 14 of the Siane LLG, were arraigned under Section 21 (1) of the Coffee Industry Corporation Statutory Functions & Powers Act No. 28 of 1991, before being released on reduced Police bail over the weekend.

Both accused men had disrespectfully demonstrated their defiance despite an ongoing general awareness undertaken by the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) Ltd, via all modes of the media networks, including, continuous verbal awareness being also done by village based law enforcement officers and community leaders on the total ban on illegal cherry coffee trading. They were alleged to have been involved in illegal cherry coffee trading, despite the awareness campaign.

Last week, a combined operation involving officers from the Chuave Police Station under Police Station Commander, Inspector Mark Tapo and Coffee Inspectors under Senior Inspector Johnem Pusa, resulted in the arrest of the two men and further confiscation of several bags of both cherry and parchment coffees, including coffee pulpers. CIC Inspectors immediately described the cherry and parchment coffees on site as being of “substandard value” that would compromise coffee quality along the chain value.

The charges under Section 21 (1) of the CIC Statutory Functions & Powers Act No. 28 of 1991, which the two men are indicted, attracts a penalty of a fine not exceeding K1,000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both. However, for an offender charged for defying or not complying with a Declaration made through the National Gazette relating to illegal coffee trading in restricted areas under Section 20 (1) of the same Act, faces a heftier fine of K5,000.00.

Several offenders in the Eastern Highlands Province charged under the same Act, have already been convicted and heavily fined by the Goroka District Court. Some notable owners of coffee processing facilities have also been fined under the CIC’s Industry Regulations & Compliance rules and regulations.  

Under a bipartisan approach, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and CIC are formally engaged in vigorously enforcing the ban in all the highlands provinces, including Simbu, which are declared by virtue of National Gazettal Notice No. G17 of 2008, as “Restricted Areas”.  

The enforcement of the ban continues and both Police and CIC Officers have issued further warnings to people who ignore such bans, that they tend to face hefty penalties if caught and charged, adding that thefts of cherry coffees by even school children were triggered by illegal cherry coffee buying in the villages.

Police further warn that should any conflict arise from illegal cherry coffee buying, those responsible would face the full brunt of the law.