KARACHI:- The Customs Appellate Tribunal, Bench I allowed four identical appeals ordering release of confiscated black tea consignment transshipped from Taftan to Quetta Dry Port.

The vehicles carrying the imported tea were intercepted by the staff of Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigations FBR, Quetta. The action resulted in protest and road blockade for several hours by the transporters.

According to details, Director General , Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) on a tip of informed his subordinates that an attempt would be made to evade leviable duty and taxes on imported consignments by way of mis-declaration of description, quantity and weight. A trailer TLC 616 was intercepted at Shaikh Wasim FC Check post at 1900 hrs on 25-2-2015 and the escort letter along with other necessary documents were taken into possession. The examination of the trailer was made and it was found that weight declared was 24000 Kgs whereas the vehicle contained double the weight i.e. 48000 Kgs. A difference of rupees 12,10236 was found in terms of customs duty levied at a rate of 15 per cent, Sales Tax, Additional Sales tax and Income Tax. According to the custom officials, the CMR was also found tampered and manipulated to show lesser weight. The importers M/S Sarhad Enterprises Munsifi Road Quetta and M/S Saleem and sons, Jinnah Road Quetta, their clearing agent A.R.International Transport Company and Customs Officials at Taftan were alleged to have colluded to evade payment of actual amount of custom duty and taxes corresponding to actual weight. They were accused of violating Section 2 (s), 32 (1), 32-A (I) (a) (e). 45, 121 and Section 157 of the Customs Act 1969. The consignment was confiscated along with trailer and a fine of rupees 100,000 was also imposed upon Sarhad Enterprises (importer) and A.R Inrernational transport Company (clearing agent) by Collector Customs (Adjudication), Quetta.

The said order was assailed in the appeal before the Customs Appellate bench I at Karachi which perusing the record and law aid down by the superior court stated in its order that where there is an information about contravention of the Custom laws, it is the duty of the custom officials to pass on such information to the respective dry port where the imported consignment is destined for. The tribunal also held that Custom officials could only seize the goods out of the Exit Gate of the custom port once cleared by the Collectorate. The tribunal also held that custom officials have no jurisdiction to stop goods meant for a dry port and correction action would be on passing the alleged contravention to custom officials of the dry port concerned.

The bench consequently declared the interception and later confiscation of the imported consignment as illegal and ordered return of the same to one of the appellant M/S Salem and Sons.