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SHC bars customs officials from taking action against M/s Procter & Gamble

SHC bars customs officials from taking action against M/s Procter & Gamble

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) passed an interim order and directed customs officials not to take any coercive action against the petitioner on a petition filed by M/s Procter & Gamble Pakistan Private Limited against recovery order for Rs1,779,232 on account of duty and taxes evasion and imposed a personal penalty of Rs200,000.

On July 24, 2019, a-two member bench also issued notices to respondents and deputy attorney general and directed them to file their para wise comments on next date of hearing.

During the hearing, Jawad A Qureshi, counsel for the petitioner argued that his appeal is pending before the appellate authority, he submits that though an ad-interim order was passed by the appellate authority, however since 180 days are over, hence he apprehends that the respondents may proceed further for the recovery of the amount including but not limited to freezing the account of the petitioner.

Earlier, counsel for the petitioner stated in his petition that petitioner a private company incorporated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan in the year 1991 is a subsidiary of the multinational company Procter & Gamble having head offices in USA, the petitioner has invested over 150 million dollars as fixed assets and its investments continue to yield socio-economic growth to Pakistan by creating over 5000 direct and indirect employment opportunities and developing a local supplier base resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in local value addition to date.

He submitted that customs officials issued a show cause notice dated 10 August, 2018 stating that Appraisement West, Karachi had reported that the petitioner was allegedly involved in import and clearance of sodium lauryl sulfate 29 (SLS) at valuation rate of US$ 0.53/kg instead of US$ 1.3/kg as provided in the valuation ruling no 695/2014.

He further submitted that on 26/10/2018, the petitioner received a copy of the impugned order, having been decided against it with a direction to deposit Rs1,779,232 on account of duty and taxes evasion. Adding insult to injury, the impugned order also imposes a personal penalty of Rs200,000 on the petitioner along with a warning to exercise care in the future failing which stern action would be taken against the petitioner and its associates.

Citing secretary Finance, Additional Collector of Customs Adjudication, deputy collector of Customs (GR-II) Appraisement West and others as respondents, petitioner pleaded the court may declare that action of the respondents is illegal, malafide and arbitrary.

He further pleaded the court may declare that the enforcement of impugned order before a final decision by the customs appellate tribunal is illegal, malafide and unconstitutional and restrain them from taking any coercive action against the petitioner till such time that a final decision is given by the customs appellate tribunal.