Special Custom’s Court dismisses NAB’s transfer application

KARACHI: The court of Special Judge, Customs, Excise and Taxation on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by Chairman NAB under section 16 (A) of the NAB Ordinance 1999 seeking transfer of a custom case to a NAB court.

The case pertains to alleged mis-declaration and custom’s court has already taken cognizance of the same in Crime No 09/2019-R&D (East) registered under section 156 (1) (8) (89), 14, (14-A) of the Customs Act 1969 against M.M. Trading Company.

The custom court relying on a recent amendment in NAB Ordinance, particularly section 4, sub section 2, (a) which says that “matters pertaining to Federal or Provincial Taxation, levies or imports shall be transferred to respective authorities or departments which administer the relevant laws of taxation, levies or imports in question”  held in its order that all such matters have been excluded from the domain of the NAB  and stands transferred from NAB courts to respective courts  created for such purpose (s).

The court also referred to arguments advanced by NAB’s Special Public Prosecutor Akram Javed who relied on judgment by Supreme Court of Pakistan (2004 SCMR 265) and that courts are under obligation to transfer a case if Chairman NAB so requests.

The custom court held that offences in present case in which transfer application has been moved, offences do not stood to the test of being “scheduled offences” under NAB Ordinance 1999. The court held that if the arguments by the NAB’s SPP are accepted” the Customs Act 1969 will become redundant”

“There are certain basic objects in the regulation of Customs Act 1969. First it is a source of revenue, secondly an import tax may serve as a means of protecting the goods of home industries against foreign competitors, The Customs Act id a special statue while NAB ordinance promulgated in the year 1999. There is no provision available under the Ordinance  which derogates Customs Court from exercising its exclusive jurisdiction  to try the offences  under the Customs Act 1969 “the order said adding that” The instant case falls under the provisions of Customs Act, 1969 of mis-declaration etc for the subject consignment  with the Custom Authority in the Custom matter at the stage of import. None of the allegations in the instant case is of corruption, corrupt practice, misuse of power,  misappropriation of property and matter contacted under  the Ordinance of 1999. For the foregoing reasons and in view of the amendments dated 28-12-2019 application in hand is dismissed accordingly”.

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