Illegal release of blocked consignment detected; inquiry against importer, clearing agents, PICT recommended

KARACHI: An alarming situation and a criminal act has been observed at Pakistan International Containers Terminal (PICT) as despite blocking a consignment by Research and Development of Pakistan Customs, the consignment was released causing heavy revenue losses to the exchequer.
According to details made available to customnews.pk, the customs authorities received information on February 15, 2014 regarding evasion of duty and taxes against the consignment because of deliberate mis-declaration of the goods by the importers and clearing agents as well as under- assessment by the concerned customs officers.
After completion of the assessment by the Deputy Collector of Group III and upon the request the DC- R&D blocked the GD in the system at gate out stage on the same day for further scrutiny.
However, on the same day, it was observed that at night around 10:20pm the consignment was released despite systematic blocking. “This is quite an alarming situation confirming no control of R&D in the prevailing system, hence, casing serious threats upon safety on the national exchequer.
Therefore, the goods would not be examined to fully ascertain veracity of the information with reference to mis-declaration of size and quantity etc.
At the time of duty assessment, the imported good ‘plastic hot fixed and glass staple’ was replaced with octagonal paper sheet and glass staple due to having assessment at lower side for which they have been succeeded but later on in further examination the DC-R&D blocked the consignment under false good declaration, the scrutiny report said.
The customs informers had claimed that correct description, quantity and size had neither been declared by the importers and clearing agents nor reported by the concerned examination staff. But the same cannot be ascertained at this stage as the goods had been removed from customs charge in a criminal manner despite blocking.
However, scrutiny of the available record report confirmed that the government had suffered a loss of its legitimate revenue to the tune of Rs0.957 million due to the wrong assessment made by the concerned assessment officer and deputy collector.
Another place during examination wrongly assessed the goods value at US$ 13,718.40 C&F, thus, causing loss of government’s legitimate revenue to the tune of Rs 1.10 million.
PA Group-III had correctly re-assessed the goods at $39,862 but the DC Group – III has again assessed the goods at $17,169, thus causing loss to the national exchequer to the tune of Rs957,668. “Hence, it is the way how senior officers destroy prevailing assessment database at the cost of national exchequer, thus, foiling sincere efforts of FBR for maintain correct database,” the report said.
The importers and clearing agents have contravened mandatory provisions of Section 32 of the Customs Act, 1969 read with allied laws and procedure with the collusion of PICT authorities. It further added that the concerned authorities AO and DC have also assisted them knowingly in committing the aforesaid fraud.
Therefore if approved, “The case may be submitted before the worthy collection for information and necessary orders with reference to the AO and DC. Moreover, necessary action may also be initiated against the importers, clearing agents and PICT authorities besides recovery of the evaded revenue,” the report added.

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