Tuesday, 29 November, 2022

Huge vehicles imported without LC!

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 25 November, 2022 12:00 AM
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Huge vehicles imported without LC!

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CHATTOGRAM: A large number of vehicles have been brought from Japan illegally by vehicle traders without opening letters of credit (LCs).

The vehicles shipped to Bangladesh by vessel the 'Malaysia Star' are now being stored in sheds at Chattogram and Mongla ports.

The consignment included 872 vehicles from more than 300 importers. An investigation is being conducted by the Customs department into the number of vehicles imported without LCs.

Illegal car imports are occurring at a time when traders are unable to open letters of credit for essential commodities.

In the current economic circumstances, commodity imports are threatened as banks cannot provide sufficient dollars. Consumer goods traders have expressed surprise at the number of luxury vehicles that reached the port without having any LC opened.

A vehicle has never been imported without an LC being opened in Bangladesh's history.These vehicles have been imported by several senior leaders of the Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA), including a key leader from Chattogram.

The importers are now attempting to release the vehicles by submitting the LCs quickly.

Most of the vehicles that arrived by Malaysia Star on November 22 were supplied by Cross Continental's Dr Jahir Uddin, an expatriate Bangladeshi living in Japan.

The majority of imported vehicles are supplied by Jahir.

A representative of the vessel's local agent, Ancient Steamship Company Limited Director Morshed Harun, stated that 872 vehicles arrived in Bangladesh by the vessel.

Among the imported vehicles, 321 were unloaded at Chattogram port, and 551 at Mongla port.

While Morshed avoided the question of how so many vehicles were shipped without LC, he said the money must have been paid somehow.

According to him, it is not the shipping agent's responsibility to verify whether a letter of credit has been issued. That responsibility falls to regulatory bodies such as customs and banks, he said.

 “After getting permission, I loaded the vehicles from Japan and offloaded them at Chattogram and Mongla,” he explained.

Imports worth up to $5,000 are allowed without a Letter of Credit under the Import Policy.

Importing such a large number of vehicles without LCs is not possible.

In the event that the LC is not submitted, customs may impose hefty fines.

A vehicle trader said, “We are trying to manage the LCs through the managing directors of some banks.”

In response to importing so many cars without LC, BARVIDA has started collecting information about their owners.

According to BARVIDA Member and Four Wheelers Owner Habibur Rahman, the vehicles may have been sent to Bangladesh without LC and were not released from the port.

When the LC is not submitted, the shipping line cannot issue the bill of loading. If the BL cannot be issued, it cannot be submitted to customs for taxation.

Until the BL is submitted, the vehicles will remain at the port sheds, then they can be auctioned off after 45 days.

Omar Faruq, the Chattogram Port Secretary, said they were unaware of the matter.

The IT department of Chattogram Customs has been instructed to verify all the submitted information, including the IGM of the entire shipment, according to Deputy Commissioner Kamrun Nahar Lilly.

 “When we get the information, we will understand what really happened,” she added.

She informed that the customs process begins only when the C&F agent submits the bill of entry.

 “We have to do this on our own initiative since the bill of entry has not been submitted,” she noted.