KARACHI: MCC Appraisement East has lodged FIR booking M/s Al Abdaal Traders, M/s JB Jamali Brothers International Import & Export and two Customs officials pertaining to the import of Acetic Anhydride through mis-declaration.

Consequent upon an information received to the effect that a consignment was cleared by misdeclaration of description, classification, value of the goods and violation of the Import Policy Orders.

The aspects of GDs were checked and it was found that GD was assessed without consulting the test report. Whereas, examination report showed that samples were drawn and sent to Custom House Lab. The concerned Assessing Officer assessed the GD without consulting with the examination report or test report.

As per practice and requirement of law, the Appraising officer must have called the test report for finalization of the assessment. But, instead of waiting and calling the test report, the official completed the same on his own and resultantly, the GD was out of charged, illegally.

In this regard, the lab was contacted and it transpired that lab report was issued showing results as Acetic anhydride. But strangely, the test report could not reach the concerned assessing officer nor to the Deputy Collector of concerned assessing group.

It was found that the test report had been suppressed by another official, as he did not forward it to the concerned assessing group/officer. If the official would have forwarded this report to the concerned assessing group, the impugned goods would have not been cleared.

The import of Acetic anhydride is importable by concerned industrial consumers after obtaining NOC from the Ministry of Narcotics Control. However, the quantity to be imported by the Industrial consumers will be determined by the FBR and for the concerned Pharmaceutical units by the Ministry of Health.

On further probe, it was unearthed that the examination of the goods was conducted in the presence of representative of the accused importer namely Arif.  The delivery of the goods was taken by Abdul Wahab.

One other aspect of this GD is that the IGM of the goods was filed in the name of M/s JB Jamali Brothers International Import & Export but the GD was filed by M/s Al Abdaal Traders, which is also an offence under the customs laws.

The role of lab officer and staff is also to be investigated.  It is therefore established that the above named accused persons have knowingly and willfully and in connivance with each other got cleared “Acetic anhydride”, which is a restricted item in the garb of “Windshield Washer Fluid”.

Sources said the lab report should have been uploaded in the WeBOC system. Sources said the officials at the laboratory had very bad reputation and several laboratory officials have made assets worth hundreds of millions of rupees. A laboratory official who was retired recently is said to have received a plot from another importer who is also facing litigation in a high profile case.

It may be mentioned here that Customs is short of technical appraisers/assessment officers while MCC Appraisement East processes an average of 500 GDs of chemicals every day.

Appraising officers Dost Mohammad, Abdul Razzak, Adnan Malik, Javed and Imtiaz assess chemical GDs in Group-II at MCC Appraisement East. Appraising officers Iqbal Waris, Muzaffar Abbasi, Raja Wasim and Siddiq Zia assess chemical GDs in Group-II at MCC Appraisement West. Appraising officer Syed Mubasshir and Zulfiqar Sheikh assess chemical GDs in Group-II at MCC Port Qasim.

Unfortunately, there are just two principal appraisers in Customs South who are expert in chemicals. These include Muzaffar Rizvi and Javed Akhtar.