The Customs House in Chattogram has filed a case against Pran Dairy alleging that it tried to dodge paying Tk 2.88 crore in duties by falsely declaring 30 containers of imported cement as raw materials for plastic products.
The importer, however, said it was deceived by the supplier, who sent cement instead of what was declared.
According to customs sources, the company, a sister concern of Pran Group, had declared to import 510 tonnes of polyethylene, a raw material for plastic products, worth Tk 4.78 crore from the United Arab Emirates.
The consignment arrived at the Chittagong port on May 26 and the company submitted documents at the Customs House that day to get the delivery. On May 27, it paid Tk 1.42 crore as customs duty for its “imported polyethylene”.
Customs sources said Pran Dairy was supposed to pay Tk 4.3 crore as duty for the cement. The duty for polyethylene is 31 percent and cement 90 percent.
If the importer wants to have the goods released, it will have to pay at least another Tk 2.88 crore.
“During physical examination of the consignment on Tuesday, we found 510 tonnes of cement of Jebel Ali brand,” Sadhan Kumar Kunda, joint commissioner of the Customs House, told The Daily Star. The case was filed on Thursday against the company following confirmation of the fraudulence through chemical examination.
According to case documents, 10,200 sacks of cement weighing 50 kilogrammes each were found in the containers. “Jebel Ali Cement” was printed as the brand name on the sacks.
Ziaul Huq, assistant general manager of Pran Group, told The Daily Star, “After the incident, we requested the stakeholders including the supplier, the shipping agent, the customs authorities, the port authorities and the bank to take necessary action. The bank concerned has already stopped payment against the letter of credit.”
“The supplier has deceived us by delivering such products and we will take legal action,” he added.
M Fakhrul Alam, commissioner of the Customs House, said they would conduct an investigation to determine the validity of the importer’s claim.