KARACHI: Customs Appellate Tribunal has uphold the judgement imposed on M/s Unilever Pakistan by Customs Adjudication for availing inadmissible exemptions ETHOXYLATE ALCOHOL I-MOLE.

Former Director I&I Karachi Saquif Saeed and his team had detected that M/s. Unilever Pakistan with active collusion of their clearing agent M/s Momentum Logistics were claiming inadmissible exemption of Fifth Schedule of Customs Act, 1969.

A consignment under clearance was blocked after being assigned to Gate Out stage. Scrutiny of the GD and relevant documents revealed that M/s Unilever Pakistan cleared the consignment of “ETHOXYLATE ALCOHOL I-MOLE, claiming Fifth Schedule, Part III, Serial No. 43 of Customs Act, 1969 (Customs Duty @ 5% & Additional Customs Duty @ 0 per cent) whereas the claimed exemption is only admissible to manufacturer of sodium Lauryl Ether sulfate and the importer had not submitted any documents to this effect.

Subsequently, Director I&I Engineer Habib assigned Additional Collector Umar Shafique and Afzal Watto to pursue the case. Inamullah Wazir and Wasif Malik and Principal Appraiser Muhammad Farooq strengthened the prosecution.

Customs Adjudication established the claimed exemptions were only available for manufacturer of sodium Lauryl Ether sulfate and M/s Unilever is not the manufacturer.

The incidence of evaded duty and taxes on account of claiming inadmissible exemptions has been worked out to Rs20.173 million. On the directives of Director General Faiz Ahmed, past clearance data of M/s. Unilever claiming inadmissible benefit of Fifth Schedule was scrutinized online through WeBOC which revealed that the importer has used same modus operandi in thirteen (13) similar consignments during the period September 2022 to January 2023, from Collectorate of Customs Appraisement (East), Karachi, evading duty and taxes to the amount of Rs222.709 million.

Customs Adjudication ordered total recoverable amount against seized and contravening goods to the tune of Rs242.8 million.

Dissatisfied, M/s Unilever Pakistan approached Customs Appellate Tribunal. After thorough deliberations, Tribunal held the provisions of law are very clear and the said exemption is available only to the manufacturer of Sodium Laurel Ether Sulfate. Hence, the Order-in-Original is upheld and the instant appeal is dismissed.