KARACHI: Performance of customs officials in clearance of imported has become questionable following back to back detection of around Rs1 billion by intelligence wing.
Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) Customs pointed out tax avoidance of an amount of Rs221 million by Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and recovered the same.
In another case the intelligence directorate detected tax evasion of around Rs755 million by three importers of steel products.
The sources said that the huge discovery of tax evasion and avoidance raised questions about the performance of customs officials posted at Customs collectorates in Karachi.
The officials of customs intelligence have jurisdiction over those goods which were cleared by customs collectorates. The sources said that huge discovery of evasion and avoidance showed inefficiency of the customs staff posted at collectorates or something else.
The sources said that in both the cases the intelligence was ascertaining the role of customs officials in evasion and avoidance.
They said that in the case of OGDCL, the company wrongly claimed the exemption. However, the company paid the amount as pointed out by the intelligence directorate.
However, in other case customs intelligence and investigation lodged around 26 FIRs two days ago against three importers for misusing SRO 655(I)/2006 dated June 26, 2006 for clearance of steel products.
The said consignments were cleared by three model collectorates in Karachi where only one percent customs duty was paid instead actual payment of 20 percent duty.
The sources said that the three importers jointly evaded around Rs755 million. They, however, said that the evasion was detected post clearance by the collectorates.
The sources in customs intelligence and investigation said that they had jurisdiction over cases where consignments were allowed clearance after proper scrutiny of prevailing laws and applicable customs valuations.
The sources further said that besides lodging FIRs against importers, the authorities had launched probe into the cases that why the consignments were not examined properly by the customs collectorates.
As per the concessions the importers cum-manufactures had been allowed imports at reduced rate of duty for in-house value addition but in the instant cases the importers had sold the goods in the open market in the raw form.
As per the FIRs the importers misdeclared the quality of steel products at the customs clearance stage.