SHC summons Additional Collector, PMBQ in mis-declaration case

KARACHI: A customs appellate bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi and Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan on Friday ordered Additional Collector, Pakistan Customs, Port Muhammad Bin Qasim to appear before it on May 07.

The bench was hearing Safraz Metlo adovcate representing Rahat Mehmood Malik, importer who imported Iron and Steel re-meltable shredded scrap. Twelve containers were imported out which seven were cleared while five were at port when during examination it was found that containers were stuffed with Aluminium shredded sheets of higher value.

The importer after examination claimed that cargo is “frustrated” one and the exporter also came forward and said cargo was wrongly shipped. The Pakistan Customs however treated the same as mis-declaration, issued a show cause and later registered a FIR.

During the course of arguments on Friday, counsel for petitioner maintained that the importer was innocent as he could not know the items stuffed in a container. He objected to the invoking of section 32 of the Customs Act and said this provision could be invoked only when there is a reason to believe that document furnished by the importer is false or incorrect. The counsel contended that as soon as the fact of cargo other than imported was found, the importer requested the customs to allow re-export but such request was declined and goods were detained.

Masooda Siraj advocate, counsel for Pakistan Customs disputed the contentions and said they have paid the duty which means that they were conscious of their guilt. The request for re-export came after examination and goods may have been cleared if examination was not carried out. She maintained that now adjudication becomes mandatory.

The court observed that no contravention report was submitted by the examining officers. The bench was of the view that customs cannot adjudicate or proceed the matter in such a manner when a request for re-export has been made. The bench dis-satisfied with the arguments advanced by customs side ordered personal appearance of the AC, Pakistan Customs, PMBQ  on May 07 at 12 noon. The amount in dispute is rupees 4,026,773.

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