KARACHI: On the instructions of PM Imran Khan, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed all Customs field formations that the FIRs must be lodged against the offenders wherein the value of seized smuggled goods is Rs5.0 million or more.

It may be mentioned here strict punishments have been ruled in Customs Act, 1969 with respect to smuggling vide Finance Bill, 2020. However, FBR noticed that collectorates and directorates are not lodging FIRs in cases of over Rs10 million.

FBR further directed all Customs formations that proceedings for forfeiture  of property should also be initiated if the value of seized goods is Rs10 million or more.

For cases, wherein the value of seized smuggled goods is less than Rs5.0 million, collectorates may decide on case to case basis depending upon the previous history of the offenders, nature of offence, and category of seized goods etc., regarding lodging of FIR.

An official said the logic behind not lodging FIR was that the Customs used to convince the importers for recovery because once the FIR was lodged recoveries were stuck in litigation.

Moreover, Customs staff also used to mint money giving the free pass to offenders by not lodging FIRs and only affecting recovery.

An official said it was a very good decision and would bring the offenders to task.

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