Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has directed the collector of Customs Islamabad Airport to personally investigate the matter and initiate necessary disciplinary proceedings under E&D rules 2020 against any official found responsible for whisking away one iPhone 14 bearing IMEI no: 35192929061841.
According to documents, Customs staff including Hafiz Manzoor, Mudassir Hussain, Faizan and Aman Ullah posted at Islamabad airport have illegally detained five cell phones and a laptop without the issuance of any receipt despite the fact, the rules allow passengers to carry laptops.
The passengers have requested FTO to take action against the official for illegally detained cell phones and a laptop.
Rules 3A clearly stipulates that one laptop/computer is allowed duty-free on any visit and this fact was not applied by the department as there were four laptops however these were detained due to a lack of knowledge about the baggage rules or poor understanding of amendment made in the baggage allowance of incoming passengers dated 26/7/2022 by the AC Airport and shift incharge on duty.
The Department Representatives stated that the 4 detained cell phones would be released after payment of duty/taxes on PTA’s web-based device identification registration and blocking system and the receipts produced to the Customs staff at IIAP however the department was unable to justify why the laptops covered under duty-free allowance of incoming passengers were detained.
This illegal detention of one laptop per passenger is in clear violation of the rules and whisking away one iPhone 14 is tantamount to maladministration.
The document stated that Customs staff namely Manzoor Hussain, Muddasir Hussain, Saqib Hussain and Faizan as well as Aman Ullah denied the charges leveled against them but Manzoor Hussain revealed that the subject goods were detained for being in excess of allowances and refused to provide his passport for entering his particular in the detention memo and sign the same and left the desk, therefore, the copy of the detention memo could not be provided to him as he was unwilling to sign the same.
The subject goods were lawfully detained in accordance with the Customs laws and the complaint does not hold any merit. The department produced CCTV footage that could not prove any point in favor of the department and only the passengers would be seen, talking to the customs staff standing far away from the CCTV camera.
FTO in its findings directed Collector Customs to initiate disciplinary proceedings against officials for whisking away expensive mobile phones besides releasing the detailed cell phones to the owner subject to payment of duty on PTA’s web-based system and to arrange.
FTO also directed the Customs collector to initiate training of Islamabad airport Staff on baggage rules, passenger facilitations, and other laws, rules, and procedures applicable at International Airports.