The Maldives Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the state in an appeal regarding the confiscation of MVR 1.1 million in illegally smuggled gold into the country.
In 2014, an inbound Indian national was discovered with 1.7 kg of gold bullion in his pockets, which was seized by the Maldives Customs Service for failure to disclose the gold under customs legislation. The matter was heard in both the Civil Court and the High Court, both of which agreed with the decision to seize the undeclared gold.
Following the Indian national’s appeal, the Supreme Court delivered a decision on Thursday, stating that all products, excluding those exempt from import tariffs, must be declared before importation. Even if gold is not illegal to import, the Supreme Court ruled that Maldives Customs has the authority to retain commodities imported without following the legal requirements.
The country’s top court also stated that the Indian national’s lack of knowledge of the requirement to declare gold before importing is not a sufficient excuse, and that it is the visitor’s responsibility to become acquainted with the rules and regulations of the country to which they are travelling.
The Supreme Court’s three-judge panel unanimously issued a ruling in favor of the state, upholding the lower courts’ decision.
Aside from the decision to take the undeclared gold, the Criminal Court recently sentenced an Indian national to prison for illegally importing gold into the Maldives by ingesting it.