The customs intelligence yesterday filed a Tk 120 crore duty evasion case against Mastex Industries Ltd for allegedly abusing duty-free import privileges under the bonded warehouse facility.
“We filed the case on finding that the company sold off in the local market most of the raw materials it imported with zero-duty benefit,” said Moinul Khan, director general of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID).
“This is a violation of bonded warehouse licencing rules,” he said. The case was filed at the Customs Bond Commissionerate Dhaka.
The move follows the seizure of two covered vans loaded with fabrics of shirts and trousers on way to Islampur, a wholesale hub for fabrics, in Dhaka in August last year.
The company imported the fabrics as raw materials under the zero-duty benefit, which the government offers to industries to make finished products for export.
Export-oriented firms that get the duty-free privilege to import raw materials are not allowed to sell the items in the domestic market.
The CIID, an office under the National Board of Revenue (NBR), said Mastex Industries got a bonded warehouse licence in 2014 and the company imported products worth Tk 126.29 crore until August 20 last year.
On August 21, detectives found only 9,206 kilogrammes of raw materials at the production floor and bonded warehouse of the firm. Examining documents related to import and exports, they found that 5,658 tonnes of fabrics worth Tk 120.53 crore were sold in the local market.
Khan said the CIID sought permission from the NBR to file a case under money laundering prevention law.
Contacted, Mizanur Rahman, managing director of Mastex Industries, denied the allegation of duty evasion and selling products in the local market. He said his company was regularly exporting products.