KARACHI: The Model Customs Collectorate MCC of Appraisement-West has finally issued show-cause notices (SCNs) against 37 clearing agents in their alleged involvement in infringement of age limit for importation of cars prescribed vide SRO 1441(I)/2012 and violated the provision of Section 208 and 209 of Customs Act, 1969, read with Rule 101 and 102 of the Customs Rules, 2001.
The show-cause notices were issued from the Office of the Additional Collector (ADC)-I of Customs, Licensing Authority Appraisement-West.
According to details, six Pakistanis filed a joint complaint in terms of Section 10(1) of the FTO Ordinance, 2000 before the Honorable FTO, wherein it was alleged that the Customs Authorities at Karachi were releasing cars imported by overseas Pakistanis involving infringement of age limit for import of cars prescribed vide SRO 1441(I)/2012. As per SRO ibid, the cutoff date for import of cars of the age of more than three years was 15-12-2012.
It was also alleged that by the complainants that the dates mentioned on Bill of Lading (BoL) were not correct as the actual dates of Master Bills of Lading were quite different. The investigation conducted by the Honorable FTO revealed that the clearing agents have manipulated the dates of bills of lading to get the reduction in age limit, within the parameters prescribed in SRO 1441(I)/2012, which otherwise was not available to those cars.
The Honorable FTO in his findings in FTO Review Petition No. 48/2013 in Complaint No 17/KPK/CUS(03)/497/2013 vide order has recommended that “The FBR to fix responsibility of clearing agents and shipping agents for manipulating the dates of after providing them opportunity of explaining their conduct in this case”.
Afterwards, in order to comply with FTO’s recommendations quoted above, the FBR had constituted a committee with a task to submit report on FTOs findings with reference to para 58(iii).
The said committee has investigated the record of clearance of used vehicles, and after investigation, the committee has identified the rule/mala-fide acts on the part of clearing agents vide para 3.28/3.29 of its report as under:
The committee has identified the number of 438cases/GDs already annexed-II wherein, cars which were not importable after cutoff date of 15-12-2012 (being older than three years and eight months) were allowed release on the basis of House Bill of lading or manipulated MBLs showing date prior to cutoff date wherein the actual date of MBLs were of or after the cutoff date i.e. 15-12-2012.
Whereas, in view of the above findings of the Honorable FTO as well as the designated committee has cleared that the Customs clearing agents with active connivance of the importers, shipping agents and their associates concealed the actual date of House B/L (HBL) or Master B/L (MBL) while filing the Goods Declaration (GDs) in terms of Section 79(I) of the Customs Act, 1969, in order to obtain release of such old and used vehicles import whereof was banned as the same did not qualify the prescribed age-limit in terms of Appendix-E read with Appendix-C of the Import Policy Order further read with SRO 1441(I)/2012.
Therefore, the authorities concerned of MCC Appraisement-West are called upon to show-cause notices to the clearing agents as to why action should not be taken against them for violation of SRO 208 and 209 of the Customs Act, 1969, read with Rules 101 and 102 of Customs Rules, 2001 notified vide SRO 498(I)/2009 .
The authorities concerned of MCC Appraisement-West have asked the clearing agents to submit their written reply in the Office of the ADC-I before or 29-Jan-2015 while hearing into the cases have been fixed on 31-Jan-2015.
Those Customs agents against whom the legal proceedings have been initiated are included: J B Sons, Mafhh Enterprises, J L Enterprises, Alick International, Fox International, Soko Traders, Shafiullah & Sons, Fawad Omad Enterprises, Jumbo International, Cargo Kings, Awan & Asghar Associates, Farhat Sons, VIP International, M Y Enterprises, Muhammad Enterprises, A R International, Clearance Management Services, United Cargo, Tabassum Enterprises, Ayaz Shipping Services, N R Enterprises, Razzaq Sons, Danyal Agencies, Indus International, A M Enterprises, Hamza Traders, Bhundi Corporation, Trade Link International, United Spectrum, World Ocean Center, Shahzeb Enterprises, Innovative Logistics, Fawad Omad Enterprises, Shamsi Trading Corporation, Aruamz Associates, Shameel Enterprises and Rays Enterprises.