Pakistan Custom files appeal against acquittal of accused Tile importer firm

KARACHI: An appeal was filed by the Collector of Customs, MCC Appraisement & Facilitation, East, Karachi Fayyaz Rasool Mekan against acquittal of accused recorded by Special Customs & Excise Court Karachi vide order dated 10-2-2021.

Mrs Yasmeen Dehdhi and Haji Iqbal Dehdhi of Forte Tiles, Muhammad Tufail, Proprietor of Messers Kanwal Enterprises and Muhammad Jamal  Dehdhi respondents/accused were acquitted by the trial court allowing their application under section 265-K.  They were sent up for trial under section 32 (1), 32(2), 79, 155- A, C, E& F and 192 of Customs Act 1969.

As per FIR, the accused were charged for i) defrauding the Government by submitting fabricated invoice having value less than the true transaction value, (ii) mis-declarations, (iii) false / mis-statements, (iv) submission of concocted documents, with false / un-true particulars and (v) attempt of evasion of revenue, (vi) committing offence in league with each other, etc.

As per appeal  M/s. Bank Alfalah Pvt. Ltd: M/s. My Bank Ltd and M/s. Arif Habib Ltd, now known as M/s. Summit Bank Pvt. Ltd were requested to provide the details of the letter sf credit (L.C), established and the import of the consignments effected through these banks.

The appellant maintains that trial court judge has chosen the paragraph of the Appellate Tribunal  which was suited to record the acquittal  of the respondents. It was also submitted that trial court judge failed to consider the established facts of transaction of the actual value of goods imported and payment made to foreign supplier through Pakistan Banks.

The trail court judge also failed to appreciate findings of the Adjudicating authority and the Appellate authority under section 179 and 193 of the Customs Act 1969, the appeal maintains.

The appeal also refers to the finding of the trial court judge with reference to delay of five years, absence of memo of seizure of actual invoice and non production of any witness from Banks which dealt with LCs.  And that consignments in question/related to offence were released on the Value as per Valuation Ruling and that none of the custom officials  who cleared the consignments was made accused in the case.

The appeal terms the said observations/ findings of the trial court as “absurd and merely technical” and maintains that as per dicta laid down by superior court, a case shall be decided on merits instead of “technicalities”.

The appeals terms the judgment under appeal as based on mis-interpretation  of law.

The appellant made the following prayers:

(i)                Set aside the impugned Order dated 10-02-2021, passed by the learned Special Judge (Customs, Taxation and Anti-smuggling), Karachi and further direct to initiate proceedings in the instant case de novo;

(ii)             Declare that the respondents in collaboration and assistance of each other have played fraud with the Government by concealing the letter of credit / true transaction value of the imported gods through mis-declarations, false / mis-statements, submission of concocted documents, having false / untrue particulars and through an attempt of revenue; and

(iii)           Declare that in the presence of true / correct transaction value the goods are to be assessed accordingly in terms of Section 25(1) of the Act instead of Valuation Ruling and the criminal Court has to proceed for appropriate order for violation of the relevant provisions of law, including Section 32 and 32A of the Act;

(iv)           Suspend the operation of impugned Order dated 10-02-2021 passed by the learned Customs Trial Court during pendency of the instant appeal;

The appeal is likely to be heard around mid-August when Sindh High Court will re-open after summer vacations.

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