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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to apologise and make payment to a citizen whose three imported vehicles were mishandled by the Customs Department, wrongly auctioned by Customs officials at a low price of almost Rs3 million without any notice to him, and the customs duty paid by him was refunded to some unauthorised clearing agents, who later disappeared with the money.

The president directed the FBR to verify all receipts/documents, refund the amount as per the assessed value of the vehicles, and refund the duties/charges paid in favour of importers/owners.

He also directed the citizen to provide all documents and reconcile with Customs Department enabling the FBR to make payment within 30 days.

He further observed that interest should be added to the payment since the auction money was lying with the exchequer.

The president gave these directions while accepting a representation filed by Iftikhar Ahmed Awan (the complainant) against the orders of the Wafaqi Mohtasib. The complainant had stated that overseas Pakistanis, living in Japan, legally imported three vehicles for the personal use of their families and the freight against the vehicles was paid.

However, FBR didn’t release the vehicles and sold the three cars in an auction at a low price of Rs3,019,385. Feeling aggrieved, the complainant approached the Wafaqi Mohtasib, who directed the FBR to make payment of sale proceeds of vehicles to owners, after verification as to why they were being paid such a low amount.

The complainant then filed a representation with the President praying that Customs Department should be ordered to make payment of sale proceeds of the vehicles at prevailing market rates as well as refund all the duties/charges which were paid.

During the proceedings, it was pointed out that after the completion of all formalities, the ship carrying the vehicles landed at another terminal and the Customs Department auctioned the vehicles without any notice to the importer, and that the customs duty was refunded to unauthorised clearing agents, which resulted in huge financial loss to the importers/owners.

During the hearing, the FBR’s representative admitted the fault of the Customs personnel in handling the matter due to a lack of communication and system barriers. He said that as per Customs Rules, if the goods were not cleared within 15 days of the date of arrival at a Customs Station, the same could be sold in an auction.

He further informed that the FBR had initiated disciplinary proceedings against the delinquent officials involved in mishandling the matter and they had also been served a charge sheet in pursuance of the order of the Mohtasib. He added that the licences of the agents, who disappeared with the money, had also been cancelled.

The president concluded that mishandling of the imported vehicles on the part of the Customs Department was not denied and maladministration had been established.

He said that due to the negligence of officials, importers/owners suffered a huge financial loss and mental agony. He added that it was a fact that financial loss occurred due to negligence, lack of communication, and deviation from the established clearing system of the Customs.

The president said the citizen was aggrieved by the wrong committed by Customs officials and not due to fault of his own, therefore, his representation was accepted and FBR was directed to refund the amount as per the value assessed, duties/charges paid in favour of importers/owners, and add interest to the payment.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


Comments are closed.

Aamir Latif May 30, 2023 07:36pm
Good of President... But why didn't customs officials did the sane when Wafaqi Ombudsman made the sane decision... Further, easy to say by customs, but they are crooks too and have ways to auction rightly imported vehicles to their cronies and make profits as joint vested interest.. and business...
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Mateen May 31, 2023 03:06pm
Take more action against the culprit
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