Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Evading import tax by making Commerce Ministry website is new model of forgery

AN importer has forged a clearance permit by opening a fake website of the Commerce Ministry to release a consignment of baby food, though it had claimed to import olives and peanuts. The fake website was strikingly similar to the official website of the Commerce Ministry. The importer had forged the signature of the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and developed a fake website to release goods this time. Importing goods on false declaration is common practice in both Chattogram Port and Dhaka Airport. Against this backdrop, we call the Ministry to adopt a practical policy of goods import.
Customs officials had received prior intelligence that the consignment contained non-declared goods. They conducted a physical examination at the Port yard and identified the forgery. Chattogram Customs House imposed a fine of Tk 76 lakh on the importer for providing false declaration in the invoice and for not complying with the terms of the import policy. It also approved the release of the consignment subject to submission of a clearance permit from the Ministry of Commerce. Later, on 10 October, the importer submitted a Commerce Ministry permit to the Customs House. On 13 October, it submitted another letter from the Ministry of Commerce regarding the clearance permit. Both letters recommended the release of the consignment, subject to payment of duties and penalties as determined by the Customs Commissioner. Upon doubt of the originality of the letter, the Customs House checked the letters and found the forgery.
According to existing Import Policy Order 2015-2018, "The words: (There is no alternative to breast-feeding) shall be printed clearly in relatively larger letters in Bangla in a visible space on each tin, airtight package or bag in box of baby food with cream." It has been mentioned in the policy that the date of manufacture and expiry (for human consumption) of milk food shall be embossed or computer printed in permanent ink either in Bangla or in English on each airtight package with the tinned container, or bag in box. As we see, baby milk powder has a high demand in the country, the government should legalize the import. On the other hand, the importer should follow the guideline of such items to evade penalties.