LAHORE: Importers and businessmen have expressed concern over gross violation of sections 32-A and 25 of the Customs Act 1969 that forbade anyone from reassessing and reevaluating the goods and articles once cleared by the customs authorities at the ports, including Karachi and Port Mohammad Bin Qasim.
Talking to Customs Today, an importer said that it is illegal and unlawful to break seals of container locks already cleared by the port authorities in their way to the final destination but customs intelligence authorities on the pickets set for inspecting smuggling often stop the cleared containers.
LCCI standing committee on economic reforms chairman Kashif Anwar said that the Director General Customs Intelligence and Investigation Shaukat Ali should take the notice of the violation by his staff for minting money.
He said that this is an unhealthy trend which is inflicting huge losses to the national economy and demoralising the legal importers.
He added that Customs I&I team deputed at highways illegally intercept the already customs cleared containers on their way and if they do not grease the palms of the officials, they threaten the importers of getting them involved in legal proceeding and fake cases.
The Customs Intelligence and Investigation, customs directorates, Collectorates, and all other field formations have no authority to harass importers by unlawfully stopping and opening of the seals of customs cleared containers on their way to their destinations all across the country, especially in Sukkar and Multan areas, he said.
LCCI Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should take strict notice against the customs officials who are involved in this illegal and unlawful practices, adding that the Customs Intelligence, Collectorates and all other filed formations should not stop the containers already cleared by the Karachi and other ports unless they have been provided with specified information about the transportation of smuggled goods and articles.
The importers complained that the Customs Intelligence and Investigation and Collectorates of the Anti-Smuggling Organizations drive the containers to their Collectoerates despite the fact that they never had any laboratory or any other yard-sticks to check the goods on scientific lines except at the Karachi Port and Port Bin Qasim.
They urged the customs authorities to take the notice of the violation demotivating business activities in the country.