KARACHI: Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) East has illegally cleared one and half dozens vehicles on false documents beyond legal entitlement in violation of Import Policy Order (IPO) 2020.
According to an FIR, one and half dozens vehicles were imported on the passports of overseas Pakistanis under personal baggage scheme. The accused overseas Pakistanis got cleared these vehicles illegally by using forged documents instead of their entitlements with active connivance of the customs officials, clearing agents and others. The submission of false documents was aimed at avoiding IPO 2020.
Meanwhile, sources said that although the government has no policy for the commercial import of used vehicles in the country, around 1000 vehicles on an average per month were being cleared by misusing different schemes, which were promulgated to facilitate overseas Pakistanis.
They said that the used cars were being imported from Japan on the passports of Pakistanis residing mostly in UAE but the cars reached directly to Pakistan; adding that overseas Pakistanis belonging to labour sold their passports for the commercial imports of these vehicles in the country.
To a question, they said that the ministry of commerce had issued SRO 52 not only to halt hawala and hundi through which money was sent for these illegal imports but also to curtail the misuse of used cars import schemes.
However, the SRO 52 has failed to serve the purpose because it has not only encouraged hundi but also increased the passport rates to Rs1 million for the import of expensive vehicle, due to the clause that allowed importers to pay duty and taxes through the local recipient supported by bank encashment certificate showing conversion of foreign remittance to local currency, sources informed.
Arshad Jamal senior vice chairman All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) confirmed that the passports of overseas Pakistanis were being sold for the imports of used vehicles and the importers in order to fulfil the requirement of SRO 52 were sending money abroad through illegal channels and remit back to the country and pay duty and taxes through the local recipient supported by bank encashment certificate showing conversion of foreign remittance to local currency.
He said that this restriction instead of halting hundi transactions encouraged the same and added that the customs officials were also involved in taking substantial ‘speed-money’ to verify the passports of overseas Pakistanis and other relevant documents that caused the illegal clearance of one and half dozens of vehicles under the very noose of customs department.
He suggested that if there was a fear of losing revenue amounting to over Rs200 billion per annum in case of strict measures to curtail the imports of used vehicles then the government, which showed keenness to offer benefits to the taxpayers, should announce special policy for the NTN holders, who were willing to import cars without any existing schemes instead of implementing such faulty procedure (SRO 52) that encouraged hundi, creating negative impact on the efforts being done to get out of FATF grey list as presently the procedure to import used cars was one of the biggest contributors to undocumented and illegal transactions.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021