Customs Adjudication presents proposals to streamline the process

KARACHI: The Collectorate of Customs Adjudication had recommended several measures in its proposals for federal budget 2016-17, which would streamline the entire adjudication process.

It has been observed that in several cases the adjudication process is prolonged on account of repeated adjournments by the respondents and their counsels. Similarly, the department also seek multiple adjournments on the pretext of verification of documents.

It is proposed that the adjournment period may be capped at seven days and not more than three adjournments by either side.

The Collector of Customs can extend the period of issuance of show cause notice of the seized goods by two months. However, very often seizures are made out by the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation.

The Collectorate of Customs Adjudication has proposed that the Director may be empowered to allow extension in the time limit fir issuance of  show cause notice.

The value of seized goods has always been a contentious issue between the seizing agency and the owner of the goods and results in delay in adjudication proceedings. It is proposed that the seized goods would be assessed by the Collectorates only having jurisdiction.

To expedite the adjudication proceedings, it is proposed that the powers of the officers of Customs in terms of amount of duty and other taxes involved, may be revised upwards.

Presently, the Customs Act empowers the Collector to recommend compounding of offence against any person involved in duty or tax fraud to the Board for approval either before or after institution of recovery thereof.

It is proposed that the power to compound the offence up to Rs2.5 million in duty and taxes may be exercised by the Collector and cases beyond this monetary limit may be forwarded to the Board for approval.

There is no charging section for the offence of “smuggling” in the Customs Act, 1969. Seizure reports forwarded by the detecting agencies for issuance of show cause notices invoke section 2(s), which merely defines smuggling instead of charging a person who has committed an offence as defined in Section 2(s). It is, therefore, suggested that the definition of smuggling provided in section 2(s) may be revisited and a separate charging, section may be incorporated in the Act for the goods and persons chargeable under the offence of smuggling and Show Cause Notice shall also be issued while invoking that Section (like section 32).

It is also proposed that a notification may be issued under the charging section comprising of two parts: the first part should consist of those goods which are not importable irrespective of their value and the second part should comprise of those goods which are liable to seizure/confiscation beyond the prescribed monetary limit.

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