Auckland food wholesaler and importer fined $60,000 for selling banned fish

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Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

An Auckland food import and wholesale business, Khan Brother's Distribution Limited, has been convicted and fined $60,000 in the Waitakere District Court yesterday for knowingly importing and selling unauthorised fish.

The company director Mustafezur Rahman Khan, 38 years old, also known as John Khan, received 6-months' community detention, and 12-months' supervision.

John Khan and Khan Brother's Distribution Limited pleaded guilty to 2 charges each related to offences which occurred between 10 December 2017 and 6 July 2018. The offending involved $70,700 in sales and unaccounted for fish.

The court found Mr Khan imported Hilsa fish, a Bangladeshi freshwater fish, contrary to the Biosecurity Act 1993.

This freshwater fish can't be imported under New Zealand's biosecurity rules.

Mr Khan falsely declared that the fish were Sardinella longiceps (Indian sardines) in order to receive clearance for the importation of 3,500kg of the fish. He sold the fish from 10 December 2017 through to July 2018.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) director of compliance Gary Orr said MPI takes any breach of New Zealand's biosecurity very seriously especially given the fish was imported as a result of misleading information.

"Our biosecurity rules are there for a reason. Anyone bringing products into New Zealand has a responsibility to ensure they are not introducing things which could be potentially harmful.

"The offending was detected by the good work of an MPI biosecurity officer, who saw the fish being sold via Facebook."

MPI took the prosecution following an investigation into Supavalue. This investigation resulted in another conviction earlier this year.

John Khan's brother, 31-year-old Moshiur Khan, known as George Khan, and his company Khan's 2nd Generation Limited were convicted on related charges on 15 January 2020 and were each fined $10,000. George Khan was convicted of selling Hilsa fish from his shop.

The Khans are brothers and run their respective businesses from the same Supavalue food store in Otara.

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