–Vehicle was seized by Customs officials upon discovery of tampered chassis number
ISLAMABAD: A diplomat of the British High Commission (BHC) Islamabad imported a tampered vehicle under the diplomatic facility, Pakistan Today has learnt.
As per the details, BHC Islamabad Third Secretary Julian Elliott Salisbury imported Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX Model 2000 bearing chassis no RZJ95-0012992, engine No 3RZ, registration no CD-08-449 from the United Kingdom (UK) against exemption certificate No 4983 dated 1/12/2014 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Later on, the appraisement Collectorate Customs House Karachi released the vehicle without duty and taxes on 12/12/2014.
Julian Elliott Salisbury, on completing his tenure in 2015, sold the vehicle to first secretary Roger James Coventry of the said high commission.
BHC Islamabad applied for issuance of an NOC in respect to the diplomatic used vehicle belonging to Coventry on the basis of sale permission no (Pvt) 10/08/2017/528 dated 12.11.2017 issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs wherein it granted permission for sale of the vehicle to a non-privilege person on payment of duties and taxes.
Subsequently, documents were presented to car section Islamabad dry port of customs by Adnan Aziz protocol officer on behalf of Coventry.
The vehicle was examined on March 3, 2018, in the presence of representatives of BHC, during the physical examination, chassis number of the vehicle was found suspicious therefore vehicle was referred to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) Islamabad for chemical examination of chassis number of the vehicle.
FSL confirmed that the chassis number was tampered with and customs officials seized the vehicle under section 168 of the Customs Act 1969 and seizure report was submitted for adjudication of the cases.
Customs Intelligence issued show-cause notice to Coventry and Aziz in May 17, 2018, and they were called upon to show as to why the seized vehicle should not be confiscated under section 156(1)(14)(90) of the Customs Act 1969 for violation of section 2(s)16,32,168 and 178 of the Customs act, 1969 read with section 3(1) of import and exports control act 1950.
The collector adjudication conducted the hearings on instant case on 31/5/2018, 3/7/2018 and 16/8/2018. Inspector Abdur Rehman Naz and Tazeem Akhtar represented the department during the hearing proceeding. Giles Whitaker appeared on behalf of the respondents. Peter Abbott vide his letter dated August 10, 2018, stated that the BHC had no objection on the confiscation of the said vehicle.
“The BHC would further like to reiterate that the said vehicle was registered with chassis no RZJ95-0012992 in the UK and was imported by a diplomatic staff member soon after he purchased from a second-hand car dealer. The Pakistan Custom examined the vehicle at the time of import on 11/12/2014 and issued goods declaration no KPP1-PP-30295 and confirmed same chassis number correct. The forensic report suggesting that the chassis number is tampered is a surprise for the mission, however, BHC has taken up matter importer of the vehicle to find out what actually happened,” he said in the letter.
“The HC had physically surrendered the said vehicle to Pakistan at the dry port in compliance with the instruction of concerned staff at the dry port on March 19, 2018, and same was confirmed the deputy collector of Custom on April 17, 2018, again.”
BHC cooperated with Pakistan Customs and did not violate any law in Pakistan, the HC facilitated the import of car in good faith and Julian Salisbury was entitled to import a car for his personal use during his stay in Pakistan as a diplomat, he stated further.
“Since there was no report of tampered chassis by either UK or Pakistan customs, the diplomat used the vehicle and sold to his fellow diplomat Roger Coventry at the time of his departure for the post. Coventry then intended to sell the vehicle in the local market and HC followed the laid down procedure to obtain an NOC for the sale of the car, the suggestion for forensic examination was made during the inspection of the car and the commission has fully compiled,” Abbott stated.
Consequently, after hearing all the parties, collector adjudication in its order said BHC had no objection on the confiscation of the said vehicle which had already been surrendered before the Customs authorities at Islamabad dry port on March 19, 2018.
“The chassis number of the imported vehicle is tampered and liable to confiscation stand established,” he said.