Illegal removal of non-duty paid goods; Appellate Tribunal upheld penalties on importer, agent, terminal operator

KARACHI: The Customs Appellate Tribunal has charged the importer, clearing agent, shipping agent and custodian terminal and upheld imposition of Rs200,000 each for illegal removal of imported consignment without payment of leviable customs duty and other taxes. Recovery of evaded revenue was also ordered.

According to details of the case, consequent upon detection of a case of fraudulent/illegal removal of imported consignment without payment of duty/taxes from Shaheen off-dock container terminal, Karachi, wherein criminal proceedings were initiated, an exercise to conduct the audit of the record relevant to consignments cleared through the aforementioned Off-Dock terminal was also undertaken and scrutinized in order to ascertain and take necessary action against the actual culprits involved in this malpractice of clandestine removal of goods from M /s. PaK Shaheen Container Services, Karachi.

The investigation and scrutiny of the documents/data carried out in this particular case which revealed that the importer imported a consignment declared to contain plastic fitting plastic pipe fittings joint, tee, elbow etc. from China and sought clearance. Further scrutiny of the documents revealed that importer illegally substituted/reduced and mis-declared the weight in the IGM.

The reduced weight also appeared in the House Bill of Lading relating to M/ s. Techno Screen Ceramic Tiles Printers, Lahore with the active connivance of the importers. Subsequently, the container was- moved to Off-Dock Terminal, M/ s. Pak Shaheen Container Services (Pvt.) Ltd., Karachi and the terminal staff; conniving with the importers and their associates did not record/report the difference of the actual quantity and weight as compared to the quantity and weight given in the lGM at the time of de-stuffing/ warehousing of the goods/manifested/un-declared cargo and did not timely inform the relevant custom authorities rather they concealed the same at the time of customs examination/assessment and facilitated the illegal removal/delivery of the same to the importers/customs agents with the collusion of the Customs staff of MCC Preventive and Terminal operator’s staff posted at exit gate of the terminal.

M/s. Techno Screen Ceramic Tiles Printers filed the aforesaid Goods Declaration (GD) mis-declaring the description and weight.

The same goods were presented before the Customs Examination staff by the custodian i.e. M/s Shaheen Container Services (Pvt) Ltd, Karachi and the Examination Report was endorsed on the GD accordingly. The differential quantity of goods weighing f678 kg Net of plastic fitting plastic pipe fittings joint tee elbow etc, which was kept away remained un-assessed and non-duty paid with the active connivance of the concerned staff of the custodian M/s. Pak Shaheen Container Services (Pvt) ltd, and their other associates as the concealed quantity of goods was neither presented for the examination nor weighed as the integral part of the consignment, hence the same remained un-assessed for the leviability of duty and taxes.

At the time of delivery again with the active connivance of the concerned staff, of the custodian M/s Pak Shaheen Container Services (Pvt.) ltd., Terminal operators, three gate passes; as well as vehicles were used for the purpose to take delivery of the consignment. .They, however succeeded to get the delivery along with un-declared/ un-manifested and non duty paid quantity of goods. The said vehicles were gate out with the connivance of the concerned staff posted at the exit gate of the terminal. The aforesaid modus operandi of fraudulent importation illegal warehousing of un-manifested goods and legal removal of the same without-payment of legitimate duty and taxes could not have been possible without the premeditated, active and willful connivance of the importer, customs clearing agent, shipping agent, the custodian and other associates in crime.

Thus all of them associated in commissioning the aforesaid crime and succeeded in illegal removal of un-assessed/un-manifested/un-declared/non duty paid goods.

The Customs Adjudication ordered recovery of evaded revenue of Rs0.442 million and imposed penalty of Rs200,000 each on importer M/s Techno Screen Ceramic Tiles Printers Lahore; Customs agent M/s Zafar Sons; Custodian M/s Pak Shaheen Container Services; shipping agent Jamal logistics.

The aggrieved parties approached Appellate Tribunal, but the Tribunal dismissed the appeal and upheld the adjudication order.

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