Customs holds clearance of 100 vehicles including 50 concrete mixers; physical examination ordered

KARACHI: The Model Customs Collectorate of Appraisement-West has stopped the clearance of over 100 vehicles including 50 concrete mixers, which were imported by the same person already under custody for getting more than three years old vehicles cleared on fake exemption letter of Ministry of commerce.

To recall, the Customs had lodged an FIR and arrested one Mohammad Azam of M/s Trade Line International, clearing agent, who arranged a fake exemption letter from Ministry of Commerce for the clearance of seven vehicles, which were not importable as per the Import Policy Order.

The MCC Appraisement West, has now stopped the clearance of over 100 vehicles being processed by the same person, so that the above-mentioned seven vehicles could be brought back .

Moreover, Collector Appraisement Mohammad Saleem has ordered complete physical examination of the concrete mixers as it is suspected that old trucks are being imported in the disguise of concrete mixers. Old trucks are not importable in Pakistan as per the Import Policy Order.

Sources said that the concrete mixers could be transported in close-lid containers because of their size, these machines are imported openly or in open-lid containers. Concrete mixers in close-lid containers is quite suspicious.

Sources said that old-trucks were earlier being imported in the disguise of sprinkle-lorries; but that scheme is no more effective due to corrective measures taken by the authorities, and now the unscrupulous elements were using the name of concrete mixers to import old trucks. It was also known that mixer drums fabricated with fiber or other material were fitted on trucks to give them a look of the concrete mixers and these were cleared on the basis of exemption letter issued by the Ministry of Commerce.

Reliable sources said that anyone could get any sort of exemption letter from the ministry against a price. So, several importers had formed fake-construction companies to get the exemption letters as concrete mixers are allowed to be imported by construction companies.

Sources said that the Ministry officials also used to endorse such fake letters when the verification sought, but the letter pertaining to the import of above-mentioned old-age vehicles was not endorsed reportedly because of some conflict between the ministry officials and importer/clearing agent.

Sources said that this nexus between Ministry officials and importers/clearing agents was causing billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer.

It may be recalled that the Model Customs Collectorate of Appraisement-West has lodged First Information Report (FIR) against several importers and clearing agents while one clearing agent has also been arrested for committing fraud and forgery.

According to details seven individuals imported seven cars from Japan under the provisions mentioned in Import Policy Order, 2013.

The Goods Declarations (GD) for clearance of the aforesaid mentioned vehicles were filed through Custom agents, M/s Trade Line International and M/s Services. On scrutiny of the import documents and the declaration made by the importer, the age of the vehicles were found older than three years and were not importable under the Import Policy 2013, therefore, the release of the vehicles was disallowed.

Subsequently, the abovementioned custom agents on behalf of the importers provided import permission from Ministry of Commerce for release of aforementioned vehicles on one time basis subject to payment of surcharge at the rate of 5.0 percent of C&F Value and leviable duty /taxes. The vehicles were accordingly allowed release.

Thereafter, the Ministry of Commerce informed that the provided for release of the afore-referred vehicles, imported in contravention of the import Policy Order-2013 was neither embossed nor issued by the concerned section of the Ministry of Commerce and is, therefore, fake.

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