Fact finding committee formed to investigate illegal clearance of betel nut

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has formed a fact finding committee to investigate illegal clearance of betel nut and fix responsibility on Customs officers in this regard.

The three-member committee headed by Director General Transit Trade Javed Ghani and comprising Director IOCO Mumtaz Poto and ADC Appraisement East Masood Ahmed will submit its final report to the FBR on October 31, 2018.

Sources said based on this report the FBR would serve charge sheet on the accused officers and officials of Customs.

It may be mentioned here that smuggling and illegal clearance of betel nut is on the rise. Market sources said the commodity was being sold at Rs600/kg in the market, as the rate remains lower when the goods are cleared through mis-declaration while if the goods are smuggled into the country from Afghan border, the commodity is Rs1000/kg in the market.

An official appreciated the constitution of such a fact finding committee and said some more high-profile officers should have been included in the committee so that illegal import and clearance of other goods including dangerous chemicals could also be curtailed.

It may be mentioned here that scores of betel nut containers cleared through mis-declaration have been seized and still the commodity is finding its way in the market.

Betel nut import through mis-declaration has become a highly profitable business due to very high margins. It is known that certain other businesses such as clearing agents, importers, manufacturers and builders as well as Customs officers/officials have indulged into illegitimate import of betel nut.

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