KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has approached High Court challenging the judgment of Customs Appellate Tribunal that dismissed the penalty imposed on M/s International Steel by Customs Adjudication.

It is interesting to note that Collector Adjudication Iqbal Bhawana had imposed a penalty of Rs2.0 million on M/s International Steel on October 29, 2019 along with recovery of Rs213.9 million of duty and taxes. The imported had claimed inadmissible concessions under SRO 565(I)/2006. By the time Order-in-Original, the offending goods had already been released and could not be confiscated.

Dissatisfied, M/s International Steel approached Customs Appellate Tribunal. The date of hearing was fixed two years after the date of Order-in-Original. The Tribunal comprising of Muhammad Arif Khan and Iqbal Bhawana allowed the appeal and set aside the Adjudication Order-in-Original.

An official said the Tribunal is the graveyard for the cases involving government revenue. However, cases offering corruption and money making opportunities, such cases are swiftly decided. The tribunal is marred with corruption as it decisions are routinely against department and in favor of importers.

Officials have advocated purging the customs Appellate tribunal of corruption by appointing members and chairman on merit alone. Customs Appellate Tribunal hears appeals against orders passed by hierarchy of Pakistan Customs including adjudication proceedings in disputed of import/export custom duty, taxes, Sales tax etc. The single member or double member bench hear cases depending on nature of controversy.

By bringing in competent and honest men in the tribunal, the genuine complaints can be redressed.