TP replacement to become non bail-able offence punishable with life imprisonment

KARACHI: The government is likely to make pilferage/replacement of transshipment cargo a non-bail-able offence punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and fine not exceeding ten times of the value of such goods besides confiscation of goods.

Customs has proposed several recommendations before the Federal Board of revenue, which needs to be incorporated in the law to avoid pilferage of transshipment cargo.

FBR had assigned a task to Director General I&I and Chief collector of Enforcement (South) to provide report regarding cases of wrongdoing during the last six months, gaps in the existing procedure relating to transshipment and remedial measures.

Customs in the report has pointed out several loopholes and flaws in the existing procedure and the subsequent problems.

Board is recommended to implement three measures on top priority including Installation of scanners both at first port of entry and at inland dry ports for matching of images by the machines; installation of tracking devices both on vehicle and container carrying TPs/STs goods and non-allowing of any TPs/ STs consignments by the systems unless invoice,

It is recommended to include en-route pilferage, replacement/removal of transshipment and safe transportation goods in clause (s) of Section 2 of the Customs Act, 1969.

In case the proposal is acceded to and the same is included in the above clause, the offence shall become punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and fine not exceeding ten times of the value of such goods besides confiscation of goods during quasi-judicial proceedings

The penal provisions of section 156 (1) (63) of the Customs Act, 1969 may be further strengthened by specifically declaring en route pilferage/ replacement/removal of transshipment goods, tampering with transport units or seals of TP cargo, as a non-bailable offence.

It is recommended that Tracking and Monitoring of Cargo Rules, 2002 should immediately be implemented for transshipment cargo.

Rules may be amended to include ‘owner’ and ‘importer’ of goods for fixing responsibility besides ‘carrier’ of the goods.

Robust and functional risk selectivity criteria may be devised and introduced for effective WeBOC system based checks for transshipments. RMS criteria may also include the profile and past performance of the bonded carrier, nature of items, origin/ port of shipment of the imported goods to be transshipped.

The weight of regularly imported goods through TP may be checked and uniformed approximate weight be matched with the declared weight. In case of major variation in the declared weight and average accepted weight, TP may be examined at the first port of entry.

Contraventions made against the importers and bonded carriers for any rules and procedures pertaining to transshipment and safe transportation may be incorporated in the system and made part of profile of the importer/bonded carrier for risk management.

Mandatory requirement of B/L, invoice, packing list and other import related documents may be made part of the TP-GD filing system and checks may be created in the GD filing module accordingly to ensure that in case these documents are not uploaded in the system, then TP/ST is blocked for detail scrutiny.

TP consignments are not scanned at the first port of entry. This practice provides a room for the unscrupulous elements to pilfer the transshipment goods en-route to final destination. Scanning of all TP consignments and uploading the images thereof in the system at the port of first entry will facilitate the detection of en-route pilferage, if any, at the port of final destination. Thus, scanners are needed both at entry and exit port for matching images by the machine, otherwise, scanning at one end only will not serve any meaningful purpose.

There should be no manual recording of weight either at first port of entry or at exit port.

The provisions of Customs general Order (CGO) No.04 of 2007 in respect of TP and ST containers are not being implemented in letter and spirit at focal points of entry or focal points of exit. Board may like to issue necessary instructions to the field formations to ensure strict implementation of the CGO.

On the directives of Director General Imtiaz Ahmed, a team comprising Director Mohammad Saleem, Additional director Waheed Marwat, Deputy Director Khuldoom-ul-Haq and staff prepared these proposals.

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