Customs officers stop work to protest FIA action

Three officers arrested for alleged cargo clearance on fake documents.


Ehtisham Mufti August 06, 2011

KARACHI:


Officers stopped work at Customs House at midday on Friday in protest against Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) action against three officers for alleged misuse of authority.


Terming FIA’s action a violation of Section 217 of Pakistan Customs Act, the Customs Officers Association said FIA officials had resorted to unjust use of their authority by harassing the customs officers.

Work was suspended at the collectorates of Port Qasim, appraisement and Pakistan Automated Customs Computerised System (PaCCS).

According to sources, the dispute arose after an FIA assistant director arrested three officers at PaCCS collectorate for allegedly clearing a consignment under fake free trade documents and without approval of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman.

The stoppage of work at the customs caused worries for importers and exporters of goods, who may suffer losses due to delay in release of their consignments. To discuss the situation, the Customs Officers Association has called a meeting of its members on Saturday morning where a future course of action will be decided.

According to customs officers, if a document is fake the sole responsibility rests on the importer and clearing agents and FIA officials, according to Section 217 of Customs Act, should have taken permission from the FBR chairman before taking action against the customs officers.

In PaCCS, consignments are cleared on self-assessment basis and for any wrong information, the provider of documents should be held responsible, said customs officers. Under the free trade agreement, goods from China and some other countries are imported with duty concessions of 5 to 15 per cent.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.

COMMENTS (3)

Ali Turk | 10 years ago | Reply

FIA : let justice be done and those responsible and abating should be arrested and action taken according to law.

To know the scale of under-invoicing of imports from China ; just compare the amount of goods exported from China as reported by China and those imported into Pakistan as reflected by Pakistan Customs. You will get a good idea of the scale of duty evasion.

United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics reveal that the government of Pakistan reports total trade between the two countries at $4 billion, but the Chinese government reports the trade at more than $5 billion.

Bilal Jatoi | 10 years ago | Reply

FIA is not permitted to even touch an FBR officer under the law, FBR is the sole authority itself that takes action (if there is a need for one) against its agents/employees. When FBR commands FIA, only then is FIA permitted to proceed as per the orders extended to them by the federal revenue agency (FBR).

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