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‘Several I&I staffers perform illegal examination of legally cleared shipments’

‘Several I&I staffers perform illegal examination of legally cleared shipments’

MULTAN: A few field staff members of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation is notorious for corruption in the business community which has raised its concern due to its non-professionalism for performing illegal examination of legally cleared import shipments. The Customs Intelligence and Investigation performed crucial functions to curb the smuggling as they are the gatekeeper of the nation and corruption in its operations due to corrupt field staff is a serious matter.

This was stated by Secretary General of Multan Tax Bar Association Imran Ghazi in its statement regarding the illegal checking of import consignments from Customs Intelligence and Investigation in the country.

He said the Customs Intelligence and Investigation is the chief enforcer of trade policy in the country who should protect and promote the legitimate business but they are causing the business community a trust-deficit through illegal examination of import shipments which are earlier examined and cleared.

He said the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Multan lodged different corruption cases against Examiners, Appraisers and Principal Appraiser on mala fide intention during last two years but there is no case registered against Customs I&I field staffs in jurisdiction. The FBR should take serious notice of Customs Intelligence and Investigation staff’s corruption as they are violating bylaws and their illegal interruption also hurts the trade flows in the country.

The Federal Board of Revenue should fulfill its national obligations by taking action against the corrupt officials of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation to create a peaceful business environment in the country otherwise international trade treaties are also under threat due to their violations and interruptions.

It is worth mentioning that even the superior courts have repeatedly held that the Customs Directorate General of Intelligence have no mandate to examine, assess or seize goods that are already cleared by the appropriate appraisement staff. They have emphatically held that the said Directorate does not have powers to exercise or invoke Section 25 or Section 32 (mis-declaration) of Customs Act, 1969. [Refer The Honorable High Court Judgments 2005 P T D 23 (Annex- B) and 2004 P T D 2994 (Annex – C)].

Sources added that the honorable superior courts have repeatedly held that the domain of the Customs Directorate of Intelligence is to stop smuggling. When certain staffers are busy in their illegal activities of examination and assessments of already cleared goods, they lose their focus on smuggling activities, rather even they allow smuggled goods to transfer from place to place for bribe. Thus, the country suffers trillions of rupees losses in smuggling and corruption at the hands of such few notorious staff of the Customs Directorate of Intelligence.

Sources revealed that DIT Sukkur recently seized goods which were lawfully cleared from port by appraisement staff. However, one notorious Inspector of DIT Liaqat Ali stopped a truck on road and on refusal to fulfill his illegal demands by the importer; he made out a case of mis-declaration and seized the goods along with vehicle illegally.