A consignment imported by M/s RIOS, initially declared to contain assorted toiletries valued at USD 7,500, has been the subject of intense scrutiny by customs officials. The importer, having filed GD no. 763 on August 11, 2023, and paid upfront duty and taxes amounting to PKR 2,797,071, was later accused of misdeclaration.

Following a tip-off from Dr. Fareed Iqbal Qureshi, a former member of Customs, an examination team was formed on August 15, 2023. The team conducted a thorough inspection of two 40ft containers and uploaded a detailed examination report along with images of the goods to the WeBOC system.

During the assessment phase, it was alleged that the importer had deliberately misdeclared the unit of measurement (UoM) of the goods, leading to a reassessment of the customs value to USD 41,794 and a payable duty and taxes of PKR 18.09 million—nearly five times higher than the declared value.

However, the Customs Adjudication department, after reviewing the case details and hearing arguments from both parties, found the case against the importer to be baseless. The department noted the oddity of framing a case based on UoM when the consignment was subject to a 100% examination. The adjudication concluded that the importer had been wrongly accused and dismissed the case, ordering the release of the goods upon payment of the applicable duty and taxes.

An official said a network in Lahore involving senior Customs officers allegedly facilitating smuggling activities. Despite suggestions that an FIR should have been filed in this case, the importer was cleared of all charges by Customs Adjudication after initially being served with a contravention notice by Customs appraisement Lahore.

The incident raises questions about the integrity of customs operations and the need for transparent and fair practices in the import-export industry.