KARACHI: Hearing a Special Customs Reference Application (SCRA) filed by Collector of Customs against order passed by Special Customs Appellate Tribunal and connection Constitution Petition filed by importer/exporter, a custom appellate bench remanded the case to Collector Appeal to decide the issue of “out right confiscation” of Afghan Transit Trade goods.

The bench heard arguments by Muhammad Rashif Arfi advocate, counsel for the Applicant, Khalid Rajpar advocate counsel for Collector Customs Appraisement (West) and Sardar Muhammad Ishaque advocate, counsel for Messers Nizam Baba Limited, Sarai Kalilullam, Nawab Market, Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

The bench was poised to decide on law point that “whether on facts and circumstances of the case, the Appellate Tribunal erred in law to hold that the Afghan Transit Goods which have been out rightly confiscated by the appropriate Custom Officer in terms of section 161 of the Customs Act 1969 can be released against re-demption fine”.

The bench noted that both the forums i.e Collector Appeals and Tribunal have not discussed and decide the issue of  out right confiscation.

The bench while disposing of the connected CP as being infructuous remanded the case to Collector Appeals to decide on the issue of  out right confiscation.

According to Order in Original it was a case of unloading the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) goods in Karachi for local consumtion thereby abusing ATT facilities.

The clearing Agent Awan and Agha and National Logistic Cell (NLC) were fined for rupees one million each while shipping line Messers Hyundai Merchant Co, Karachi was also slapped with a fine of rupees 0ne million. The goods were also confiscated out rightly.

It was a classic case of abuse of ATT in which all players including importer, customs, bonded carrier and shipping agent collaborate for financial gains.