ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has fully endorsed the enforcement action of the Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigations - Customs at Sost Dry Port for checking suspected consignments and disciplinary proceedings against delinquent customs officials.
Sources told Business Recorder that the FBR has rolled out Customs digital clearance system, ie, WeBOC at Sost Dry Port for ease of doing business and enhanced transparency during clearance of Chinese consignments coming through the Pak-China border.
According to the sources, the Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation –Customs is an important arm of the FBR that maintains checks against evasion of duties and taxes across Pakistan.
Recently, this Directorate in collaboration with officials of Pakistan Customs, have been able to identify cases of misdeclaration and evasion of duties and taxes at Sost Dry port. Besides generating additional revenue for state’s exchequer, this collaboration has also enabled identification of delinquent Customs officials, against whom disciplinary proceedings are underway. It is regrettable that some of these officials are attempting to feed stakeholders with misleading information as a diversionary tactic.
The FBR officials informed that the FBR and all its formations including Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigations-Customs will continue to facilitate legitimate trade with China through its land border while discouraging elements from within and outside who are involved in any fiscal crime or violation of any mandatory regulation. The FBR has already rolled out Customs digital clearance system i.e WeBOC at Sust for ease of doing business and enhanced transparency in ensuring compliance with related regulations.
They said that the Collector of Customs GB, vide a letter has alleged that blocking of GDs at Dryport Sost by Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation–Customs is preventing him from performing his duties. He stated that a Principal Appraiser (PA) named Raja Waseem posted at Sost was surrendered by him to Chief Collector on 17.09.2022 and alleged that soon after the Dt Gen I&I-Customs started blocking the GDs at Sost Dry Port.
Furthermore, he claimed that the DG I&I-Customs tried to influence the Member Admin, FBR in support of the said official.
The allegations of Collector-GB were examined and have been found to be mere accusations. It is strongly asserted that neither any supportive recommendations, written or verbal, have ever been made by DG I&I-Customs for PA Raja Waseem to Member Admin or any other senior officer of FBR nor any discussion thereon was done. The allegation that when the said official was surrendered on 17.9.2022, the Dt Gen I&I-Customs started blocking the GDs is also baseless because between 17.9.2022 and 09.10.2022, one hundred and twenty (120) GDs were filed and none of these was blocked. The first GD was blocked on 10.10.2022. Hence, the inter-relation being drawn between the surrender of the said official and blocking of highly suspicious consignments by Dt Gen I&I-Customs is also unsubstantiated.
Regarding the contention of the Collector-GB that blocking of consignments by Dt Gen I&I is hampering him from performing his duties, it is pointed out that during the current season more than 465 GDs were filed at Sost Dry Port. Out of these only eight GDs were blocked that too on receipt of credible information about misdeclaration of description and quantities. For their joint examination the PA (I&I) was sent to Sost who reported to the concerned Assistant Collector on 21.10.2022 and remained there till 3.11.2022.
However, out of the eight (08) blocked GDs only three (03) were arranged for re-examination. The Collectorate had collected duties and taxes of Rs6.44 million on these three GDs, the re-examination by PA I&I in the presence of the staff of Collectorate, representative of NLC Sost Dry Port and the importer resulted in detection of huge quantity of undeclared items involving cumulative evasion of duties and taxes of Rs9.44 million (146 percent) over and above the duties and taxes already collected. Anticipating that further re-examination will lead to similar or more detections, the remaining five consignments, despite being blocked by I&I-Customs, were not arranged for re-examination and were either released manually by the Collectorate at its own or in light of orders of the Court, sources said.
The FBR has already rolled out Customs digital clearance system, ie, WeBOC at Sust for ease of doing business and enhanced transparency in ensuring compliances with related regulations. The FBR and all its formations including Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigations-Customs will continue to facilitate legitimate trade with China through its land border while discouraging elements from within and outside who are involved in any fiscal crime or violation of any mandatory regulation, the sources added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022