KARACHI: Collector Abdul Basit Chaudry has imposed a penalty of Rs10,000 on shipping agent M/s M.M Marine Services Pvt Ltd for non-intimating non-arrival of vessel as per schedule within 24 hours of ETA.
According to the details of case as reported by the MCC Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, importer M/s Masoom Flour Mills (Pvt) Limited in connivance with their clearing agent M/s Ahmed Enterprises and shipping agent M/s M.M. Marine Services (Pvt) Limited mis-declared and concealed actual facts regarding Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) of the vessel MV Virginia which actually is picked up as IGM date by the WeBOC System, online VIR/IGM filing system and in abetment with others made an attempt to evade regulatory duty Rs27.097 million imposed by the Federal Government through SRO 1015(1)/ 2014 dated 07.11.2014 and withholding tax of Rs. 1.49 million on the goods imported.
Shipping agent M/s. M.M. Marine Services (Pvt) Limited filed Vessel Information Report (VIR) regarding arrival of vessel MV Virginia in the Customs Computerized System through his user I.D. on 31/10/2014 and gave ETA as 6/11/2014. It means the vessel was scheduled to arrive on 6/11/2014, therefore, the WeBOC System allocated IGM 0344 dated 6/11/2014 to this vessel. As per available record, the ship arrived in Pakistan on 12/11/2014 .
According to MCC Port Qasim, it was deliberately filed by the shipping agent as 6/11/2014 instead of 12/11/2014 because they knew the WeBOC system would pick ETA date as IGM date so that to avoid incidence of regulatory duty.
However, the importer and the shipping agent claimed that they had no intention of evading the regulatory duty and earlier paid the regulatory duty in the government exchequer.
The Collector Adjudication observed that importer/agent had not committed violation of any law. However, a penalty was imposed for not intimating the non-arrival of vessel in time.
It may be recalled that the case was detected on the information of former Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa wherein importers/shipping agent allegedly attempted to defraud the authorities by taking the advantage of flaws in online clearance system WeBOC.
The FBR has suspended appraising staff including Principal Appraiser Asad Aleem and Appraising Officers Ghulam Yaseen, Noor Muhammad Kalwar, Anis-ur-Rehman Khoso, Sareeruddin and Qamar Mubeen, who suffered because of the flaws in the system. Some are of the view that the case was not investigated properly and the responsibility was not fixed on appropriate quarters, instead some officials were punished for crimes they did not commit.