KARACHI: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Karachi has challenged the order-in-original issued by Collector Adjudication Asif Marghoob Siddiqui, based on which Customs Export re-exported an impugned consignment imported by M/s BGP Pakistan without paying leviable duty and taxes, and which was liable for confiscation.
In an appeal submitted before Tribunal, FIA has prayed to set aside the order-in-original issued by Asif Marghoob Siddiqui for being incorrect and based on the mis-reading of record and non-application of relevant provisions of law.
FIA had detected fraudulent re-export of Surveying Equipments of M/s BGP (Pakistan) International, on the strength of bogus/forged documents, without paying leviable duties/taxes. The consignment was scheduled for shipment to China on 03.10.2017 through their Custom Clearing Agent M/s International Moving & Trading Company (IMT Co), which was intercepted by FIA on 02.10.2017.
M/s BPG (Pakistan) Ltd got Custom Clearance for shipment of surveying equipments without paying leviable duties & taxes by misusing provision of SRO-678(I)/2004, in connivance with their Clearing Agent M/s IMT Co. Examination of the documents revealed that Custom authorities had cleared the goods on the basis of fake/bogus Corporate Guarantees. The goods meant for re-export were earlier imported in year 2014 & 2015 and should have been re-exported within two years of import.
Consequent upon timely action of FIA, Pakistan Custom Authorities started contravention proceedings against M/s BGP (Pakistan) International & M/s IMT Co (Clearing Agent), on the charges of evasion of leviable duties & taxes by misusing benefit of SRO-678(I) 2004 presenting Forged/ Fake Corporate Guarantees for Custom’s Clearance.
Collector Adjudication Asif Marghoob Siddiqui imposed a penalty of Rs3.0 million on M/s BGP Pakistan International and a penalty of Rs1.0 million on clearing agent M/s Internal Moving and Trading Company. However, the Collector Adjudication noted M/sBGP Pakistan was not liable to pay duty and taxes on temporary imports. The decision comes surprising rather suspicious as M/s BGP Pakistan has already voluntarily submitted an amount of Rs637 million into the government exchequer.
Asif Marghoob Siddiqui has also ordered to refund the amount recovered from M/s BGP Pakistan. FIA sources said soon after the order-in-original, under the pressure of Manzoor Memon, Collector Export Ahmed Mujtaba Memon on the order of Customs Adjudication re-exported the goods. MCC Exports should have gone for appeal as a huge amount of revenue was involved.
FIA has contended that Asif Marghoob grossly erred in law by giving over-riding effect to a cursory opinion of the office of the Chief Collector Enforcement (South) over the law. The law and procedure prescribed for the implementation of SRO-678(0/2004 confirms that if an importers fails to re-export the temporary imported goods within the validity period of the corporate guarantees (CGs), the importer shall be liable to pay the guaranteed amount of duties and taxes.
This position is also accepted by the importer before the High Court through their statement and consent. FIA contends that if there was no duty / taxes leviable on the goods why M/s BGP had submitted fake CGs with the Customs at the time of re-export of the impugned equipments and why they made consent to the High Court.
In presence of these established lawful evidences confirming commission of crime, how the learned Collector Adjudication Asif Marghoob Siddiqui could deprive the state from its legitimate revenue merely on the basis of an in-house correspondence between the Collectorate of Customs-Exports (PMBQ) and office of the Chief Collector-Enforcement (South), which has no over-riding effect over the Courts’ order, contents of the CGs as well as the Law i.e. SRO-678(1)/2004.
M/s BGP (Pakistan) International is working in Pakistan since 1995 and is engaged in business with numerous Oil & Gas producing companies. M/s BGP (Pakistan) International has imported hundreds of consignments of Surveying equipment under provision of SRO-678(I) 2004 but the company didn’t complied with terms and regulations of SRO-678(I)2004. The temporary imports are immune to levied duties & taxes subject to providing a Corporate Guarantee for each consignment whereby importing company indemnify that imported goods will be re-exported within two years (now five years) or completion of project, whichever is earlier. However M/s BGP (Pakistan) has not re-exported any temporarily imported consignment of surveying equipments so far, thus, causing serious violation of SRO-678(I) 2004.