KARACHI: MCC Appraisement East has seized a consignment of betel nut coming from Jebel Ali, which was being cleared in the garb of soap.
Keeping in line with its efforts and tightened controls to curb the smuggling/mis-declaration of Betel Nuts, Collector MCC Appraisement East Saeed Akram and Additional Collector Sheeraz Ahmed are keeping strict examination practice.
It was the 5th such consignment which was recently intercepted by MCCA-East. Collector Saeed Akram appreciated the examination officers ADC Sheeraz Ahmed, AC PICT Syed Muhammad Raza Naqvi and AO Kaleem Chattha.
The details of the case are that owing to beefed up controls and extra vigilance being observed by the examination officers and staff in a consignment filed by M/s Ali Bagh Enterprises at PICT, Betel Nuts were found concealed in iron drums which were declared to contain Soap Stock. The modus operandi was such, almost 90% of drum space was filled with Betel Nuts while a layer of soap stock was placed on top of the drum to conceal presence of Betel Nuts underneath. The consignment was shipped form Jebel-e-Ali port and trader’s profile reflected that it was the first GD filed by the said commercial importer. The consignment was found to contain 05 containers which are under investigation. The clearing agent, present on spot, is under customs custody and efforts are being made to locate the owner of M/s Ali Bagh Enterprises.
To counter similar attempts of smuggling/illegal clearance, MCCA-East has placed all soap stock consignments originating from Jabel-e-Ali port under high alert. Examination staff has also been instructed to remain extra vigilant while examining similar consignments. The information has also been shared with other Appraisement Collectorates to intercept similar consignments having same modus operandi and port of shipment to foil attempts of illegal clearance of Betel Nuts under the garb of soap stock.
Director Transit Trade ZebaAzhar has also effected high alert and referred 24 containers for examination, which were filed for Afghanistan.
Sources said betel nut was a high profit business at the moment as the traders were booking a 26 ton container for $39000 i.e. $1500/ton. And the commodity is being sold at Rs1900/kg translating into over $400,000.
Such goods are prone to misdeclaration, smuggling and pilferage during transit to dry ports under transshipment permit (TP), therefore collectorates are keeping strict vigilance. An official said no policy had been devised as yet about the confiscated stuff whether it would be destroyed or re-exported to recover the foreign exchange spent on booking these orders.
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