The 250 machine guns, recently acquired from the Norwegian army, have been sealed off by toll authorities, who will not deliver them to the Coast Guard until the latter can prove that the weapons were a gift, as its representatives have publicly claimed. According to RÚV, toll authorities locked up and sealed the warehouse in which the weapons are kept, until the Coast Guard can provide such evidence.
Whereas the Coast Guard has not provided any proof, toll authorities have a copy of the Norwegian Army’s invoice for the guns, supporting Norway’s claim that the Coast Guard purchased them. If the MP5 and MG3 machine guns were purchesed, the Coast Guard must pay a 0.5% toll and 7.5% VAT, before receiving the shipment. In case of an emergency, though, toll authorities would provide access, according to RÚV’s report.
At least 150 of the guns are intended for Police use. Since the acquirement of the weapons was disclosed by DV early last week, along with plans to equip Police cars with the heavy arms, the Coast Guard has claimed that they were a present from Norway. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Army insists that the guns were sold to Iceland. A spokesperson of the Army has also claimed that representatives of the Coast Guard demanded that the transaction, and all documents involved, would be kept secret.
Toll authorities reportedly took action following DV’s original disclosure of the weapons.
The toll-problem is well known by any inhabitant of Iceland who receives any goods from abroad. Up to a certain value, gifts are excluded from otherwise applicable toll restrictions and the, at times hefty, fees involved. Proving that a shipped item is indeed a gift and not a purchase can, however, be hard to do.