Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Henschel Investments Pty Ltd & Jens Uwe HENSCHEL - Importing prohibited food

Illegal Imports and Exports
Western Australia

On 10 February 2017, Jens Uwe Henschel was fined $30,000 and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment but released immediately on a good behaviour bond for two years, after he pleaded guilty to importing food through his company Henschel Investments Pty Ltd that he knew was not permitted into Australia on 19 occasions between 2009 and 2014. His company was fined $15,000.

Trading as 'Cape to Cairo', Henschel Investments Pty Ltd imported food it knew was not permitted into Australia under quarantine and imported food control laws, including 795 kg of Beefy Bovril, a beef spread whose import is prohibited due to the persistence of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and Mad Cow Disease in parts of South Africa.

Also imported was over a tonne of cereal and smaller amounts of spice mixes not allowed under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards.

To conceal the imports, the accused, in conjunction with their South African supplier, created a dual set of invoices. One was a complete invoice for internal use, while a second invoice presented to Australian authorities, left out the products that weren’t allowed. Cape to Cairo caused its customs broker to unwittingly present these doctored invoices on 16 separate occasions.

The offending was discovered when Quarantine officers searched Cape-to-Cairo’s warehouse and shopfront in Perth. They found some of the Bovril and uncovered evidence of the dual invoicing in the company's computers.

Three containers that were already on their way to Australia were then searched on arrival and more of the offending food products were found.

Charge / Sentence

Following guilty pleas, on 10 February 2017, Henschel was fined $30,000 and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment but released immediately on a good behaviour bond for two years. The company was fined $15,000 for its part in the offending, in relation to:

  • 13 counts of importing food knowing it does not meet applicable standards contrary to section 8(1) of the Imported Food Control Act 1992
  • 18 counts of illegal importation contrary to section 67(1) of the Quarantine Act 1908
  • 16 counts of making false or misleading statements contrary to section 70C(1) of the Quarantine Act 1908
  • 1 count of possession of illegally imported goods contrary to section 70C(3) of the Quarantine Act 1908.


Sentencing remarks

In sentencing, District Court Judge Derrick told Henschel that 'in committing the offences you and the company engaged in a significant course of dishonest criminal conduct over a considerable period of time'.