Rolls-Royce seized from Baridhara for custom rule violation

The customs detectives have seized a Rolls-Royce car worth Tk 27 crore from a house in Dhaka on allegation of breaching customs rules.

On April 27, the 6,750cc vehicle was imported by Z&Z Intimates Ltd, owned by a Bangladesh-Hong Kong joint venture company situated inside Chattogram Export Processing Zone, from UK-based Vertex Auto Ltd, according to a statement of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) released today.

The price of the vehicle was shown as 200,000 US dollar or Tk 1.87 crore in the import document and after all taxes and duties the car would cost Tk 27 crore in Bangladesh.

However, as an exporter, Z&Z Intimates Ltd had the opportunity to get a duty benefit of Tk 24 crore under the 170 Customs Procedure Code.

But for some unknown reasons, the importer company did not complete its assessment and taxation process.

The vehicle also failed to achieve clearance from Chattogram customs as its importer changed the ownership of the company and name after bringing in the car.

AKM Sultan Mahmud, deputy commissioner of the Chattogram office of the CIID, has confirmed seizing the vehicle from Dhaka’s Baridhara today.

No product has the opportunity to leave the port or customs house without completing assessment, he said.

“As an export-oriented company, the company had the opportunity to import cars under the duty-free facilities,” Chattogram Customs Commissioner Fakrul Alam told The Daily Star.

“Normally, duty assessment of an item is done when it is sent to the EPZ from the port. Now we are investigating how the Rolls-Royce reached the house of the managing director of the exporter company without completing the assessment.”

The firm is not entitled now to import cars duty free after changing the company name and ownership, he said.

“If the company wants to enjoy the duty benefit for car import, it has to correct its name first.”

“We have already sent letter to the National Board of Revenue in this regard. Further action will be taken after knowing opinion of the NBR,” Alam said.

The officials of MI Trade Associates, the clearing and forwarding agent responsible for the release of the luxury car, declined to comment on the issue.

Sharif Zahir, managing director of Z&Z Intimates Ltd, said he is entitled to import duty free car as an investor in the export processing zone.

Zahir also said he obtained the permission from the Bepza for importing the duty-free car.

However, as per the rules, the car was supposed to be inside of the Dhaka EPZ for assessment.