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Bribe-taking leaves hundreds of loaded trucks stranded on Pak-Afghan border

Bribe-taking leaves hundreds of loaded trucks stranded on Pak-Afghan border

PESHAWAR: The customs officials posted at the Landi Kotal are involved in bribe-taking from transporters due to which hundreds of loaded trucks have remained stranded on Pakistan Afghanistan Border.

The Customs Clearing Agents on Wednesday at a press conference at the Landi Kotal Press Club said the customs staff deputed on Pak-Afghan Border is demanding extra taxes which have not been imposed by the Federal Board of Revenue or Customs Department.

The Customs Clearing Agents further said that we have given a one-week deadline to the Customs Department to take notice of the illegal activities being practised at the Landi Kotal against which importers have staged several demonstrations.

The customs authorities deputed on the Torkham Border clarified that no option shall be given to pay fine in lieu of confiscation in respect of defined goods. When inquired from a lawyer dealing the customs cases at the Peshawar High Court about the status of bylaws regarding the imposition of fine on moving vehicles, she informed Customs Today that the vehicles listed for transfer of NDP goods cannot be impounded on the borders or no fine can be taken in order to clear the vehicles.

If smuggled goods are given an option to pay fine in lieu of confiscation, the quantum of fine in lieu of confiscation in respect of offences specified shall be over and above the customs-duties and other taxes and penalties imposed under the relevant bylaws.

Advocate Mehwish KakaKheil added that nowadays importers are complaining about the misuse of the Customs Acts and reminded the judgment passed by the Peshawar High Court saying the Customs Acts don’t allow charging of extra fine imposed on vehicles whose goods are already cleared by any section of the Pakistan Customs.

It may be remembered that a case of bribe taking from importers at Customs Sukkur check-post is already being discussed in the media against which serious and immediate action needs to be taken by the high-ups of the Customs Department.