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Customs Appellant Tribunal dismisses appeal against ONO issued by Adjudication

Customs Appellant Tribunal dismisses appeal against ONO issued by Adjudication

LAHORE: Customs Appellant Tribunal’s Member Judicial Omar Arshad Hakeem has disposed of the appeal of Al-Zaman Transport Express Service and 17 others appellants against the Order-in-Original (ONO) passed by the Collector of Customs Adjudication Lahore.

As per details, Al- Zaman Transport Express Service and 17 other appellants lodged an appeal against the ONO No. 04/2014 passed on December 31, 2013 regarding the confiscation of bus, imported LED TVs, shaving blades, chewing gums, etc.
Before the appellant tribunal, counsel for the appellants argued that the confiscated goods were purchased by the appellants from market and brought to Lahore through bus and said that the case of the appellants did not fall under section 2(s) of the Customs Act, 1969 as the value of goods for each case was not more than Rs 150,000.

On the other hand, counsel, representing the department rebutted the arguments of appellants and stated that neither the so-called appellants appeared in the office of Directorate of I&I FBR Lahore to claim the ownership of seized foreign origin goods, nor they submitted travelling tickets or any other documents regarding legal import or lawful purchase/possession of the seized goods. Therefore the same were seized by the authorities on suspicion of smuggling.

After hearing the arguments, the member judicial stated, “The purported appellants also failed to produce any cogent admissible evidence to prove their ownership of confiscated goods. I therefore hold that the appellants No.1 to 18 are not the owners of confiscated goods therefore are not “aggrieved persons” as envisaged under section 194-A of Act of 1969, thus have no locus standi to file instant appeal.”

The member also stated in his judgment, “It is held that the Adjudicating Officer was correct in refusing redemption of delinquent goods” and “in view of what has been stated above this appeal being incompletely filed and devoid of merits is dismissed with no order as to cost.”

Brief facts of the case are that Superintendent of Intelligence and Investigation FBR Lahore received information that foreign origin LED TVs are being brought from Peshawar to Lahore via Motorway. The staff of I&I held a picket near Ravi Toll Plaza Motorway and seized the bus after chasing it while the driver and his companion ran away from the spot.

On cursory checking of the bus, I&I staff found imported LED TVs, shaving blades, chewing gums in the side racks and beneath the seats of the bus. After that FIR was lodged with I&P FBR Lahore against the driver and others and notices were issued to bus owner for investigation but no one appeared from the respondents neither in person nor through their accredited counsel. They also did not submit any written reply to the show cause notice.

The adjudication decided the case and passed ONO as: “The seized goods of foreign origin mentioned in table above at para-1 of this order are confiscated under clauses (89) and (90) of section 156(1) of the Customs Act, 1969, an option under section 181 of the Customs Act,1969 is not allowed. The bus bearing registration number LRJ-5405 used in the transportation of the smuggled goods earlier released vide interim order dated 30.12.2013 against the Bank Guarantee/ Pay Order amounting to Rs 50,000 is confiscated under section 157 of the Customs Act, 1969. However, option under section 181 of the Customs Act, 1969 is allowed and the same is released against payment of redemption fine equal to Rs 50,000 to its lawful owner”.