Most int’l orgs ignore NBR’s order to surrender passbooks

The National Board of Revenue is going to take legal actions against the international organisations and development partners which have failed to surrender or renew the customs passbooks of their 395 non-Bangladeshi staff within the January 31 deadline.

Field offices of the NBR found that employees of 21 organisations left the country without surrendering 267 luxury vehicles imported against the passbooks under duty-free facility as privileged persons.

They illegally sold the cars at the local market or transferred to other privileged persons without paying applicable duties.

Earlier, the revenue board gave a one-month ultimatum to 38 international organisations and development partners either to renew or surrender the customs passbooks as their non-Bangladeshi staff left the country without disposing of durable goods including motor cars imported under duty-free benefits.

But most of the organisations did not respond to the notice of the NBR issued in between the last week of December and the first week of January, officials of the revenue board said.

According to the NBR data, employees of GIZ illegally transferred or sold 19 cars, those of World Bank 20 cars, those of UNICEF 33 cars and those of UNDP 51 cars.

Staff of DIFD illegally transferred and sold three cars, those of ICDDRB eight cars, those of KOICA five cars, those of UNFPA nine cars, those of WFP eight cars, those of Asia Foundation five cars, those of ILO six cars, those of FAO 11 cars and those of DANIDA six cars, among others, the data said.

Of the 38 organisations, only 14 responded to the ultimatum of the NBR while 24 did not make any reply, officials of the NBR said.

The replies made by 14 organisations were also incomplete as some of those did not mention anything about vehicles imported against the passbooks, they said.

Some others sought additional time saying that they were trying to recover the non-surrendered passbooks, they added.

The revenue board may allow additional time for organisations which sought time for completing the procedures but the non-compliant bodies may face legal actions.

Field offices mainly Customs Bond Comissionerate, Dhaka will issue show-cause notices to the heads of the organisations, officials said.
The heads of the organisations which failed to comply with the instruction to dispose of the passbooks and vehicles will be asked to attend hearings on the issue.

Before asking for hearing, the CIID will issue notices to give their arguments.

According to the Privileged Persons (Customs Procedures) Rules 2003, the heads of the international organisations and development partners will be held responsible in case of violation of the provision of the rules and they are supposed to settle the issue within 60 days of such violation.

The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate is also investigating the matter to trace the cars.

The customs authorities can impose penalty up to 10 times of the applicable duty of the car for not abiding by the customs law. Even, criminal case can be filed against the person involved in the irregularities.

Officials said that the organisations which did not respond to the NBR ultimatum included World Bank, UK Department for International Development, USAID, DANIDA and UNHCR.

German International Cooperation Agency GIZ, ICDDRB, UNFPA, UNICEF, JICA, UNDP, WFP, Asia Foundation, ILO, IRRI, IFC, KOICA, WHO and CIRDAP replied to the NBR notices.

source: Newage