SHC disposes ten petitions filed by importers against Post Clearance Audit under invoicing, money laundering allegations against petitioner companies

KARACHI: Ten constitutional petitions filed by dozens of importers against  post clearance audit objections and subsequent probable proceedings were disposed of by a customs appellate bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi and Justice Mahmood A Khan after statement by top officials of Post Clearance Audit, Pakistan Customs.

The petitions were filed by Megaplus Pakistan and others, Kami Corporation, Home Systems, Galaxy Traders, World Wide Distributors, Awan Distributors, Spectra Distributors Solution One, Digital Technologies and others and F.J Enterprises & others. As the petitions were taken up for hearing, Additional Director Farrukh Sajjad and Deputy Director Shoaib Raza appearing for the respondent PCA collectorate stated that petitioners are being dealt with strictly in accordance with law. They  assured the court that  petitioners will be served with  proper notices under section 26- A of the Customs Act 1969 and will also be provided due hearing in respect of post clearance  audit observations. They also submitted that if replies from the petitioners will be satisfactory then proceedings will be dropped but if violations were detected then contraventions reports will be prepared and the matters will be referred to the Adjudicating Collectorate concerned. They further assured that PCA will not initiate any recovery proceedings against the petitioners unless the adjudication is completed by the adjudicating authorities.

Zain Jatoi advocate representing petitioners, after this statement and assurances from PCA did not pressed the petitions but made a request for a direction to the PCA to inquire about the relevant documents and information only as may be permissible  under the Customs Act 1969 and in case of any default by the petitioners will issue importer-wise  contravention reports in accordance with law.

The respondents agreed to the such request at which the petitions were disposed of by consent. Khalid Mehmood Rajpar, Masooda Siraj, Muhammad Khalil Dogar represented the respondent custom officials while federation was represented by Assistant Attorney General Ameenullah Siddiqui.

The post clearance audit objections pertains to alleged under invoicing on large scale and resultant money laundering for which the PCA has initiated a full scale inquiry. As PCA could not deal with money laundering issue, it is learnt that cases will be handed over to the Anti Money Laundering Unit supported by evidentiary material. Billions of rupees are allegedly siphoned by dozens of importers/petitioners and the scam is stated to be biggest ever detected by PCA.

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