KARACHI: A customs appellate bench of High Court of Sindh disposed of two identical petitions filed by Messers General Enterprises which challenged recovery of Rupees 30 billion.

The petitions pertain to alleged evasion of duty and taxes, misdeclaration of value, quantity, illegal removal of liquor from diplomatic bond, violation of Import Policy Order and claim of in-admissible exemption to the tune of rupees 3,017,016,406.

Ms Afsheen Aman advocate filed the petitions while Khalid Rajper Advocate represented Post Clearance Audit (PCA) of Pakistan Customs, Karachi.

According to details, PCA was entrusted to audit and investigate Diplomatic Bond for a period of five years and according an audit for the period  01-07-2010 to 30-6-2015 was carried out for directorates falling under the Model Customs Collectorates of Karachi. No data was provided by the collectorates after which data and record was obtained from PRAL. It was found that Messers General Enterprise provided ware housing and clearing of liquor from diplomatic bond.

The PCA after sifting thgrough record found that license was obtained in the name of a Muslim Syed Ahmed who entered into a partnership with two Christians Francis Shehzad and Munnawar Masih. Syed Ahmed few days after entering into partnership retired from partnership deed after which these two persons remained engaged in illegal activities including illegal removal. The PCA established an evasion of duty and taxes beside other levies  to the tune of rupees 30 billion.

The PCA then initiated recovery proceedings which were assailed in  two petitions CP-D 6864 & 6865 of 2018 before the SHC which were heard and disposed of on 25-10-2021.

The petitioner sought suspension of recovery notice on ground that appeals are pending before the Special Customs Appellate Tribunal, Karachi.

As the counsel for petitioners was not in attendance and a request for a fixed date was made through consul holding brief, the bench said that there was no reason for keep these pending. The bench said that it would be proper to dispose of the petitions with the directions to the appellate tribunal to decide the same within next sixty days.

The bench restrained the department from recovery till appeals are decided. However the bench regarding recovery passed the following order “As for securing the amount being recovered through impugned notices, we may observe that this order shall not influence the tribunal, in case any application is made to it by the department for securing the amount in shape of bank guarantee or pay order which application shall be dealt with in accordance with law”.

With the above observation, the bench disposed of both the petitions.