Theft of transshipment cargo be made criminal offence for importer: MCC Lahore

KARACHI: The MCC Appraisement Lahore in its proposals for Federal Budget 2016-17 has suggested that pilferage/removal of goods during transshipment must be made a criminal offence for importer and not just for the bonded carrier.

It is also suggested that tampering of container should also be made a criminal offence as well. According to MCC Lahore, this would make transshipment more secure.

Section 156(43) states that if any goods after having landed but before processing and clearance are removed from bonded area for illegal removal with intent of defrauding the revenue, and if goods cannot be recovered, the owner shall be liable in addition to full duty a penalty not exceeding 5 times amount of such duty, or for every missing package a penalty of Rs100,000 or 3 times value of goods whichever is higher.

MCC Appraisement Lahore has contended that if goods are removed enroute to upcountry and documents are forged, it is not possible to ascertain value of the goods replaced. Thus it is not possible to ascertain value for framing contravention. Lacuna in the law may be addressed by inserting new clause or amending the existing one.

MCC Appraisement Lahore suggests the scope of second proviso to section 181 needs to be extended to cover the goods imported/ exported in contravention of the provisions of section 32, in order to maintain uniformity in the imposition of redemption fine already prescribed under SRO 499(I)/2009.

It is proposed that the Board may, by an order, fix the amount of fine which, in lieu of confiscation, shall be imposed on any goods or class of goods imported in violation of the provisions of section 15 or of a notification issued under section 16, or on any goods imported or exported in contravention of provisions of section 32.

It is suggested that if any person fails to pay the arrears within the prescribed time, he shall, in addition to the arrears, be liable to pay the surcharge at the rate of KIBOR plus 3.0 percent per annum, of the amount of duty and other taxes involved.

MCC Appraisement Lahore states that normally, when cases are framed against imports, contraventions are issued. There is a need to prescribe conditions/circumstances differentiating a seizure report from a contravention report in the Act.

The proposals were prepared by the team of MCC Lahore headed by Collector Mohammad Sadiq.

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