KARACHI: MCC Appraisement East has foiled an attempt wherein M/s Ajmair Impex, Lahore attempted to clear betel nuts in the garb of galvanized plain sheets. Earlier, Director Shahnaz Maqbool had seized three containers of M/s Ajmair Impex, which were declared as plain sheets and were found to be betel nuts.

After introduction of additional health and safety requirements by the Government on import of Betel Nuts, unscrupulous elements are using illicit means to smuggle betel nuts in the garb of miscellaneous goods through mis-declaration.

Under the supervision of the Collector Saeed Akram, Model Customs Collectorate of Appraisement East Karachi is endeavoring hard to curb these elements for the safety of public.

The Collectorate has foiled another such attempt. An information was received to the Deputy Collector (R&D) Muhammad Ali Malik that some Lahore based importers are misusing the facility of transshipment for smuggling of Betel Nuts into the country through mis-declaration. The information further revealed that the Betel Nuts after getting cleared from Karachi Port would be replaced with the goods mis-declared in the relevant Goods Declaration en route to the final destination.

Saeed Akram Collector constituted a team of the officers of R&D comprising Deputy Collector Muhammad All Malik, and Principal Appraiser Dost Muhammadm, Preventive Officer Malak Hashim, Aduil Rasheed  besides other officers for strict surveillance to curb the menace.

The team raided at Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT) and intercepted a Consignment of M/s Ajmair Impex, Lahore destined for Lahore. Detailed examination carried out by the R&D team resulted into recovery of 25.5 MT of betel nuts being cleared in the garb of galvanized plain sheets.

Preliminary inquiry revealed that M/s Ajmair Impex, Lahore imported the impugned consignment from Jebel Ali, UAE declaring description of the goods as galvanized Plain Sheets. Smelling interception by R&D’s team, they did not file any Goods Declaration for clearance of the goods from PICT despite lapse of 08 days from arrival of the vessel.

Open market value of the seized Betel Nuts is around Rs65 million while duties and taxes tried to he evaded are calculated as more than Rs5.0 million.

It may be mentioned here that a lot of consignments of betel nuts had been imported from Jebel Ali, but collectors at Appraisement South including Ashad Jawad, Javed Chaudry and Saeed Akram have decided to clear all consignments through red channel.

Now, the importers of betel nuts are attempting to clear the goods through transshipment (TP) to dry ports and trying to replace the goods during transit. Around 100 containers are lying on ports and the importers are not filing the goods declaration (GD) for clearance.

Director Transit Trade Zeba Azhar had a meeting with Additional Director Abdul Hai Shaikh, Deputy Director Rana Kamran, Principal Appraiser Javed Akhtar, and it was decided that goods, which are not consumed in Afghanistan such as betel nuts would not be cleared for transit to Afghanistan. However, there is still likely that betel nuts would be attempted to be cleared through Afghan transit trade through mis-declaration.

Director Customs Intelligence Peshawar Irfan Javed, Collector Peshawar Saeed Jadoon and Collector Quetta Ashraf Ali have also alerted their formations and keeping strict vigilance on the movement of betel nuts.