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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to constitute a fact finding inquiry against allegation of demand of money by a senior Customs officer posted as Additional Collector of Customs Port Qasim. M/s AAA Packages a unit operating in Karachi Exports Processing Zone (KEPZ), had complained that the officer had allegedly, unduly harassed them and demanded Rs40lac bribe for not taking any adverse action against them.

On refusal to meet the demand, the customs lodged FIR against them wherein major allegation was of mis-declaration of description of goods to evade custom duty and taxes amounting to Rs9.5 million. According to importer, the GD did not involve any payment of duty and taxes as goods for EPZ units are exempt from duty and taxes. However, the Collectorate took extreme action of lodging FIR against this unit.

The complainants, therefore, requested the FTO for investigation in the matter. The complaint was referred to the secretary, Revenue Division, Islamabad for comments. In response thereto the Collector of Customs, Port Qasim (Exports) stated that since mis-declaration in goods were found on examination, the case was made out against the Complainants and FIR lodged as per Customs law.

While according to importers, they placed an order with an FOSHAN GOAMING HENGRUEEXPORT & IMPORT Company Limited for two containers, one of rejected plastic rolls waste and other of CTCP Plates. They filed GD on “One Custom Computerized System” declaring the item as rejected plastic rolls waste assorted sizes and microns for further processing in the unit.

When the container was examined at EPZ, instead of rejected plastic rolls, CTCP plates were found. It was further averred that they filed GD as per BL and filing of GD is only for the purpose of getting the container in from the gate and the goods are not chargeable to duty and taxes in EPZ. On finding different goods on examination, they contacted the supplier who admitted mistake of his staff in loading and dispatching goods of other BL, CTCP plates were supposed to be sent in the next shipment which was also ready for delivery. He provided copies of letters from the shipper to the Customs and tried level best to sort out the matter but they did not listen to him. On the other hand, the Collectorate denied any such allegations of bribery levelled by the importer.

The FTO has accordingly directed the FBR for the constitution of fact finding inquiry comprising two BS-20 officers to investigate into the allegation of corruption. Further proceedings in the matter are underway.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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