first_imgA BUNCRANA man, who threatened to punch his former partner’s teeth out, has been fined for a public order offence before Buncrana Court. James McMenamin, 36, with an address of Flat B, 23 Lower Main Street, Buncrana, was charged with being threatening, abusive and/or insulting outside Buncrana Courthouse, at Lower Main Street, on December 8, 2016. He also faced charges of criminal damage and possession of a knife at Buncrana Garda Station on December 31, 2017, and being threatening and abusive, intoxicated and giving a false name to Gardaí outside the Atlantic Bar on the same date.McMenamin pleaded guilty to all charges before him, when he appeared before Buncrana District Court.Garda Inspector David Murphy said on December 8, 2016, Garda Hooks was on duty at Buncrana Court when a lady, who was the ex partner of Mr. McMenamin, approached him.“Ms. Kelly told Garda Hooks that Mr. McMenamin threatened to punch her and knock her teeth out,” said Insp. Murphy.“They were in court for family law purposes. Garda Hooks later spoke with Mr. McMenamin but he said he wanted to seek legal advice first. He was later approached the following March but he declined to make a statement,” he added.In a separate incident gardaí were on patrol in Buncrana on New Year’s Eve night and at 11.10pm they saw males involved in an altercation outside the Atlantic Bar.Insp. Murphy said Gda. Kelly spoke with James McMenamin and made a demand of his name and address.“He said he was Seamus from Portlaoise but Garda Kelly suspected this was a false name so he arrested him but at this stage Mr. McMenamin became aggressive and resisted arrest,” explained Insp. Murphy.“At the Garda Station he was searched and a small knife was found on him. He was then placed in the cells and he damaged the mattress, pulling it apart.”Insp. Murphy said the damage amounted to €279, but he said Mr. McMenamin returned to the Garda Station after being released and paid €280.Judge Paul Kelly queried the cost of the mattress being €279, but Insp. Murphy said it is specifically designed.The court heard that McMenamin had previous convictions for assault, drugs charges in 2012 and 2011 and public order offences dating back to 2002. Insp. Murphy said he had 20 previous convictions in total.Defence solicitor Frank Dorrian said both Mr. McMenamin and his partner had been upset and tempers were frayed. He said he shouldn’t have said what he did but that it was an ‘exaggerated threat’ that he never intended to carry through.“He reacted badly to a stressful situation and has previous convictions – he lived a chaotic lifestyle,” said Mr. Dorrian.“But his attitude is improving, he is trying his best and has come a long way.”In relation to the other incident, Mr. Dorrian said the false name was Mr. McMenamin being sarcastic but his comedy ‘fell on deaf ears’.Mr. Dorrian said Mr. McMenamin went to White Oaks previously but had a relapse around the New Year. He said his client is ‘back on track’ now and back going to meetings.Regarding the incident McMenamin’s former partner, Judge Paul Kelly applied the probation act.However he fined him €100 for being threatening and abusive to Garda Kelly on New Year’s Eve. The criminal damage was struck out as he repaid the money to the gardaí and the possession of a knife charge was taken into consideration after Judge Kelly heard that it was a small penknife.The remaining charges were struck out.Fine for Buncrana man who threatened to punch former partner’s teeth out was last modified: February 14th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:buncranaBuncrana District CourtJames McMenaminJudge Paul Kellylast_img read more

first_imgThe moment you enter South Africa, customs officials will be nearby and ready to inspect your luggage. If you are not certain as to what to do when you cross paths with them, don’t worry, our customs guide will help put you at ease.Travellers to South Africa are able to bring two-litres of their favourite wine without the need to pay duty or value-added tax. (Image: Brand South Africa)Whether you arrive in South Africa by air, sea or land, you have to pass through customs control, where you may be questioned and your baggage may be scanned or searched for dutiable, restricted or prohibited goods.On arrival, travellers with goods to declare must complete a Traveller Card and make a verbal declaration of their goods to a customs officer, who will then generate a Traveller Declaration (TRD1).If you’re found with undeclared, restricted or prohibited goods, you could be fined or even face prosecution. To help you avoid this, and make your arrival in and departure from South Africa as smooth as possible, here’s a quick guide to moving goods in and out of the country.Note: This information serves as a guide only. It remains subject to change without notice. If you are in any doubt as to whether the goods you intend to bring into South Africa are restricted, contact your nearest South African embassy or high commission abroad (see links in box on right).What you can bring in duty-free?Once you’re over the duty-free limitRestricted: goods that you have to declareProhibited: goods that you may not bringRather safe than sorryTravellers in transitVAT refunds for touristsHow much money can I travel with?What you can bring in duty-free?You can bring the following goods into South Africa without paying customs duty or value added tax (VAT):Consumable goods in accompanied baggage:Cigarettes – up to 200 per person.Cigars – up to 20 per person.Cigarette or pipe tobacco – up to 250g per person.Perfume – up to 50ml per person; eau de toilette (scented liquid lighter than cologne) – up to 250ml per person.Wine – up to 2 litres per person.Spirits and other alcoholic beverages – up to 1 litre in total per person.People under 18 can claim this duty-free allowance on consumable goods – with the exception of alcohol and tobacco products – provided the goods are for their personal use.Medicines: You are allowed to bring in one month’s supply of pharmaceutical drugs or medicines for your personal use. Any other pharmaceutical drugs or medicines must be accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered physician, and have to be declared.Personal effects, sport and recreational equipment: You can bring in personal effects, sport and recreational equipment, either as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage, for your own use during your visit.In the case of very expensive articles, you may be required to lodge a cash deposit to cover the potential duty/tax on their re-export. The deposit will be refunded on departure after a customs officer has inspected the items and verified that they are being re-exported.Handmade articles for commercial purposes: Travellers from Southern African Customs Union (SACU) or Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are allowed to bring into South Africa handmade articles of leather, wood, plastic, or glass if the goods do not exceed 25 kilograms in total, without the payment of duties and taxes.Additional goods: In addition to the personal effects and consumables duty-free allowances, you are allowed to bring in new or used goods in accompanied baggage to the value of R5 000, or R25 000 if arriving from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland.What if I am over the duty-free limit?Once the above limits are exceeded, all goods brought into South Africa are subject to the payment of customs duty and value added tax (VAT) – including goods bought duty-free on aircraft or ships or in duty-free shops.For goods of up to R20 000 in value, you have the option of paying customs duty at a flat rate of 20%. Flat-rated goods are also exempt from payment of VAT. This is valid only once per person per 30-day period.People under 18 can opt for the flat-rate assessment, provided the goods are for their personal use.Once you’re over the additional R20 000 limit – or if you waive the flat rate option – then duty will be assessed and paid on each individual item you’re carrying, and an additional 14% VAT will be charged.Goods that do not qualify for the flat-rate assessment include:Firearms.Goods for commercial purposes.Consumable goods in excess of the quantities detailed above.Goods or gifts carried on behalf of other people. Not only are these are subject to duties and taxes, but they may also require an import permit.Goods that you have to declareCertain goods are restricted, and may only be brought into South Africa if you have the necessary authority or permit, and these must be declared on arrival. They include any firearms, as well as:Currency: South African bank notes in excess of R25 000; foreign currency above $10 000; gold coins; coin and stamp collections; and unprocessed gold.Endangered plants and animals: Species of plants or animals that are listed as endangered, whether they are alive or dead, as well as any parts of or articles made from them.Food, plants, animals and biological goods: All plants and plant products, such as seeds, flowers, fruit, honey, margarine and vegetable oils. Also animals, birds, poultry and products thereof, such as dairy products, butter and eggs.Medicines: You are allowed to bring in one month’s supply of pharmaceutical drugs or medicines for your personal use. Any other medicines must be accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered physician, and have to be declared.A full list of prohibited and restricted goods is available on the South African Revenue Service website: www.sars.gov.zaGoods you’re not allowed to bringIt is illegal to bring the following goods into South Africa:Narcotics: any narcotic or psychotropic substances, including drugs such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine, mandrax or ecstasy; or any paraphernalia relating to their use.Any fully automatic, military or unnumbered weapons, as well as explosives, fireworks or weapons of mass destruction.Any poison and other toxic substance.Cigarettes with a mass of more than 2kg per 1 000.Any goods to which a trade description or trademark is applied in contravention of any law (for example, counterfeit goods).Unlawful reproductions of any works subject to copyright.Any prison- or penitentiary-made goods.If you’re in any doubt about the goods you want to bring into South Africa, contact your nearest South African Embassy or High Commission abroad or the nearest SARS customs office.List of South African offices abroad: www.dirco.gov.zaContact SARS: www.sars.gov.zaRather safe than sorryYou can avoid problems by making sure that you:Always declare all goods in your possession.Produce receipts for goods purchased abroad – including goods bought duty- free on aircraft or ships or in duty-free shops.If you are unsure of the value of goods which you should declare, ask for assistance from the customs officer on duty.Remember, failure to declare goods, under-declaration of the value of goods, or production of false receipts or invoices could lead to the seizure of your goods as well as criminal prosecution or fines of up to three times the value of the goods.Travellers in transitTravellers in transit to countries outside the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, do not have to comply with customs formalities in South Africa.This applies only if you have been booked from an airport outside the SACU, and you are not travelling to your final destination by road. These passengers may not leave the transit area of the airport between flights. Their baggage will automatically be transferred from their international flight.Note, however, that customs officials may still search travellers in transit and their baggage for any illegal drugs or counterfeit goods. Anyone found with such goods will be detained and handed over to the police for prosecution.PaymentsCustoms duties and taxes are payable in South African rand. Payment can be made in cash, by credit card or by means of traveller’s cheques.Should you have any questions or doubt about the amount of duty paid or payable, or any other matter about your dealings with a customs official, you should take the matter up with the senior customs officer in charge. The receipt you obtain from Customs must be given to the officer dealing with your enquiry.VAT refunds for touristsValue added tax (VAT) at a rate of 14% is levied on the purchase of most goods in South Africa. As a foreign visitor you may apply for a refund of the VAT you pay while in the country – provided you apply before you depart.To apply, make sure you get tax invoices for your purchases. Then present these to the VAT Refund Administrator at your point of departure. If he/she is not available, present your goods to a customs officer, who will inspect the goods, stamp your invoices and deliver them to the VAT Refund Administrator, who will correspond with you on the matter.For more information on how and where to apply for VAT refunds, visit www.taxrefunds.co.zaHow much money can I travel with?Currency brought into or taken from South Africa is monitored by law. Should you have more than R25 000 in South African currency or $10 000 or the equivalent thereof in foreign currency, this must be declared.As a foreign visitor, you can bring in up to R25 000 in South African currency (rands), plus an unlimited amount in foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques, provided you declare this on arrival.On departure, you can also take out R25 000 in South African currency (rands), and up to the amount in foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques that you declared when you arrived – provided you didn’t stay for more than 12 months.Temporary importsPlease note that you may be required to lodge a cash deposit to cover the potential duty/tax on expensive articles if you are bringing them in on a temporary basis. The deposit will be refunded when you leave after a customs officer has physically inspected the items and verified that the goods are being re-exported.Visitors must notify the Customs office where the deposit was lodged at least two days before you leave to ensure that the refund is ready. You will find the office number on the documents which will be given to you when paying your deposit.If you are leaving from a port other than the port where you lodged the deposit, the inspection report confirming the re-exportation of the items will be forwarded to the office where the deposit was lodged and a cheque will be posted to the address that you provided.Conference organisersIf you are bringing goods into the country specifically for a conference such as pamphlets, brochures and banners, you need to do the following:If these goods are accompanying you, you need to follow the same process as normal travellers.If the goods are not coming with you but are being sent into the country at a different time (unaccompanied baggage), you have to declare them on a DA 306 form. You need to complete the form before you come into the country and take it to your nearest customs office when you arrive in South Africa. This is a simplified clearance procedure for goods that will not be sold in the country.Source: South African Revenue ServiceReviewed: October 2015Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

first_imgIf election campaigns mean shrill rhetoric and sharp attacks on political rivals, Prahlad Singh Tipaniya could well stand out for his unique approach. A stranger to the world of politics so far but a renowned folk singer from the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Tipaniya has been declared as the Congress candidate from Dewas, a reserved seat for Scheduled Castes.The folk singer, whose mastery of Kabir bhajans is well known, said he will reach out to his voters through his bhajans.“I will talk about well-being, compassion and progress through my bhajans,” said Prahlad-ji, as he is popularly called, while speaking to The Hindu over phone from his ancestral village of Luniyakhedi in Ujjain district. At a time when election speeches have become more about sharp, personal attacks on rivals, will bhajans be enough to take on his rivals? “You can put me in politics, but can’t take the bhajan out of me. Everyone has a point of view. My view is that while some have a more ugra (aggressive) way of putting across their ideas, you can permanently change someone’s mind only when you can convince him with conviction,” he said.A Padma Shri recipient, Mr. Tipaniya, who now spends most of his time talking of Sadguru Kabir Sewa Smarak Shodh Sansthan, has travelled around the world, spreading the message of compassion and fraternity as propounded by Kabir, a 15th century poet who is now regarded as a saint by his followers.Asked how he plans to handle the divisive discourse during elections, especially with regard to polarising issues such as religion and caste, he offers Kabir’s dohas (couplets) to make a point about ignorance.”What is the religion of paani (water), hawa (air) or a tree? Don’t you know that they exist to serve everyone?” said the folk singer, who retired as a school science teacher.“If the Sadguru [Sant Kabir] gives me the opportunity to serve the people through politics, then I will do so. I have not yet thought about what will happen if they target me personally,” he added.last_img read more

first_imgTwo army commanders allegedly colluded with a private developer to hand him seven acres of prime defence land worth Rs 25.50 crore in Pune. A confidential Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) report, a copy of which is with india today, notes that Lt General (retd) B.S. Thakker and Lt General Nobel Thamburaj regularised unauthorised constructions on military land. The report also holds a director in the Directorate General of Defence Estates guilty of passing decisions that helped the developer continue commercial exploitation of defence land. Lt General Thamburaj succeeded Lt General Thakker as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Southern Army Command, in 2006.Residency Club, formerly a residential bungalow, built on defence landThe Army recently court-martialled Lt General P.K. Rath for issuing a no-objection certificate to a private developer at the Sukna military station in West Bengal. There was, however, no transfer of defence land in Sukna. In the Pune cantonment, this alleged nexus between the Defence Estates department and the Army virtually gifted away prime defence land to Ramkumar Agarwal, a private developer and chairman of Citizen Sports and Recreation Club Pvt Ltd. Leased as a private residence, the plot has been turned into a commercial venture, the Residency Club, violating cantonment rules.The area goc-in-c heads the local government in every one of the 62 cantonments across India. Three crucial decisions that virtually legitimised the club’s occupation of defence land in Pune, one of the Army’s most important cantonments, were issued days before the incumbents either retired or moved out of office. Ved Prakash, the director of Defence Estates Organisation (DEO), set aside all notices against the club a month before his retirement in November 2006. Lt General Thakker regularised unauthorised constructions by the club just a day before he retired on January 31, 2006. On December 29, 2008, Lt General Thamburaj admitted an appeal by the private developer against the government notice for unauthorised construction. He took this decision two days before he relinquished his appointment as southern army commander and moved to Delhi as Vice-Chief of Army Staff. These decisions were taken on the case which was subjudice, the report notes.Lt General Thamburaj”The club was in existence for over a decade before I was posted in Pune. They had erected a few temporary structures for sports facilities. Proper procedures were followed and these decisions were not taken on a spur of the moment,” said Lt General Thamburaj. “The club did not monetarily benefit from my decision.” Agarwal, the owner of Residency Club, denied ever having met any of the three officials. “They have nothing to do with the club. They haven’t done me any favours,” he says.The CAG report suggests otherwise. The ‘old grant bungalow’, or a private residence built on defence land, was built in 1940. In 1986, Zarir Cooper, the Holder of Occupancy Rights (HOR), informed the army about a proposal to transfer the land to Agarwal. This was not granted. In August 1987, the HOR once again applied for permission to start a club in the premises, which was once again rejected by the deo. Defence land rules expressly stipulate that the bungalow can be used only for residential purposes. The Government can resume ownership of the land after paying the occupant the cost of the building. In 1999, however, the Director General, Defence Estates overruled the deo’s objection and okayed the transfer of the property to the private party. The main condition for the transfer was that the Government would hold the title to the land and that the bungalow would be used for residential purposes only. The developer challenged the Government’s title over the land in the civil court and began redeveloping the bungalow as a recreation club. The court confirmed the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) title on the land but restrained the Government from interfering with its use as a club. The case remained pending in court.Armed with the court order, the developer converted the bungalow into the Residency Club and made extensive alterations on the land. As none of these constructions were approved by the Cantonment Board, Pune, notices were issued on Agarwal by the board between 1992 and 2006. The builder appealed against the notices. In January 2005, he agreed to pay the MoD an annual lease rent. The Defence Estates Department assessed the rent at Rs 79 lakh per year. “Interestingly, no progress was made in this regard by the MoD,” the report notes. This inaction cost the Government over Rs 10 crore-Rs 7.91 crore in a one-time premium and Rs 3.8 crore in annual rent since 2005.The case then went to the appellate authority, Ved Prakash, then director of Defence Estates. Prakash set aside all the notices and stopped the removal of unauthorised constructions. In 2006, then goc-in-c Lt General Thakker regularised the unauthorised constructions on the deposit of a meagre Rs 8.33 lakh. He did this a few days before he retired.Lt General Thakker”No army commander can pass orders to regularise unauthorised constructions; it is Defence Estates officers who do that. Moreover, if the club has already been around for a decade before I took over them, how does the army commander come into the picture?” says Lt General Thakker.In 2006, the Pune Cantonment Board filed a suit in the Bombay High Court against Prakash’s decision stopping unauthorised constructions.In December the same year, a new Cantonment Act passed by Parliament came into force. The Act transferred appellate powers from the Defence Estates Officer to the goc-in-c. In 2007, a notice for unauthorised construction was served on the club. The developer filed an appeal before the goc-in-c Southern Command. This appeal was allowed by Lt General Thamburaj on December 30, 2008, a day prior to relinquishing charge. This decision taken despite the matter being subjudice, virtually regularised the club’s illegal constructions.The report severely indicts the army and Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE) for failing to protect Government property. Despite being aware of the builder’s intent in utilising the bungalow as a club, the DGDE sanctioned the property transfer. Defence Estates authorities failed to pursue the court case: no hearing was held since 1997. This soft-pedalling only loosened the Government’s hold on the land. Despite a decade, the local military authorities failed to finalise the board proceedings that were convened in 1999.Defence ministry officials say the Pune case is symptomatic of the malaise afflicting cantonments in Lucknow, Delhi and Meerut. “Most of the corruption in these cantonment areas revolves around Old Grant Bungalows,” says one official. “Even when leases expire, no effort is made to resume leases on these bungalows,” he adds. In several cases, either the land is illegally sold or the usage is changed from residential to commercial with nobody to check.A CAG report says that three crucial decisions that virtually legitimised the Residency Club’s occupation of defence land were issued just a few days before the incumbents either retired or moved out of office.Bungalow owners allege discrimination by the ‘pick and choose’ policy of lease renewal adopted by the local army commander, cantonment ceo and Defence Estate officer. “Frequent land scams take place because of the flawed land records kept by a single authority, the Defence Estates Department,” says Raghavinder Dass, president of the All-India Cantonment Bungalow Owners’ Association.This new scam to tumble out of the ministry’s closet once again highlights the dangers to prime defence land. Last year, the Defence Estates was severely criticised by a Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA) report. The report said that the DGDE, custodian of 17,000 acres of defence land worth Rs 20 lakh crore, had failed in all its primary tasks of audit, accounting, acquisition of land and financial management. The department has been unable to punish its black sheep. One of its officers, A.S. Rajgopal, was promoted twice despite being chargesheeted a few years ago. He retired as principal director of Defence Estates last year. The cda recommended closing down the DGDE. The Government is yet to take any action.Defence Minister A.K. Antony recently told Parliament that 11,000 acres of defence land were being illegally occupied all over the country. Antony said that he had asked for computerisation of the DGDE’s records. “This is preposterous. Computerisation is being held out as a panacea for corruption,” says a senior Ministry of Defence official. Computerisation of the DGDE’s land records has been on for the past five years but the organisation is nowhere near realising a central database. The DGDE has been unable to respond to even basic RTI queries on the size of defence land holdings. With no reform or accountability in sight, defence land scams will continue to stain officers of the armed forces.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more