Return of surety in 500 cases worth billions SHC hears petition against MCC East

KARACHI: An appellate bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Jjustice Omar Sial on Thursday heard arguments in a constitution petition filed by Karachi Tube Mills, importers of steel sheets, coils against encashment of sureties kept with Model Customs Collectorate, East and withholding the same instead of returning the same to the importers.

Naveen Merchant advocate appearing for the petitioner side submitted that  petitioner imported iron steel sheets and coils and filed a Goods Declaration under PCT Heading 7225.3000 pertaining to steel sheet having Boron content upto 0.08 per cent or more and thus classified as “Alloy”. The Custom Official refused to accept the GD and charged custom duty, taxes etc under PCT Heading 7208.9090. The classification dispute went to courts and later provisional release was ordered against payment of sureties with the customs department. While the MCC West and MCC Port Muhammad Bin Qasim returned the amount, East in about 500 cases withheld the same on ground that petitioner/importer/applicant has first to prove that duties and taxes have not been on-passed to the  end consumers.

The counsel for petitioner relying on reports from Dr A.Q Khan laboratories maintained that all reports confirmed that imported consignments of the steel contained “Boron” and thus concession under Free Trade Agreement was attracted.

She referred to Section 19 A and 33 of the Pakistan Customs Act and said that refusing release of amount of sureties was illegal. She was arguing the case when the court rised for the day adjourning further hearing till Friday when Masooda Siraj advocate, counsel for respondent Pakistan Custom will rebut the arguments by counsel for petitioner.

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