Imported Garjon timber worth Tk14.5 crore, meant to be used for making doors and other furniture, is now going to be put on auction as firewood as the costly wood is rotting away on Chattogram Customs premises following seven failed auction bids.
The Chattogram Customs House will auction the timber in November for the eighth time.
Customs officials said they could not sell the 5,341-tonne timber, imported by Gumati Timber Complex from Myanmar, because of a writ petition filed by the importer, not getting the expected price in the auctions and not having approval from the plant quarantine station.
They said after the timbers were imported in 2012, the importer filed a writ after those were auctioned in 2013. The High Court gave a verdict in favour of the importer and asked him to receive them paying customs duty and other charges. Yet, the trader did not take them.
Later, those timbers were auctioned twice in 2018 and five times in 2019. In the last auction, a trader from Chattogram was considered the highest bidder who offered Tk52.97 lakh.
However, the plant quarantine station later informed the customs that these goods are not in usable condition anymore and cannot be given clearance for unloading. Later, the customs returned the pay order to the bidder, said Plant Quarantine Station Deputy Director Nasir Uddin.
Chattogram Customs House Auction Department Deputy Commissioner Ali Reza Hayder told The Business Standard the timber has occupied a huge space in the customs house. So, those will be auctioned in November to make space for other goods.
Md Hoasan Manik, the proprietor MA Ahad and Co, the clearing and forwarding agent of Gumati Timber Complex, said the importer told him that he could not discharge the goods due to some problem with the letter of credit.
However, Gumati Timber Chairman Mashurul Hossain Khan said the timber does not belong to him. Singaporean supplier National Forest PTE Ltd sent the consignment of timber without any letter of credit from Myanmar.
He also denied that he had filed a writ in this regard.
Besides these garjon timbers, about 7,000 containers of goods, stuck due to various bureaucratic complications, are waiting to be auctioned at Chattogram port.
Also, 110 luxury cars that have come to the country under the Carnet de Passage facility have been lying in the port for 10 years. Most of the vehicles have lost their utility on the road as they could not be sold due to legal complications even after four auctions.
The customs authorities took the initiative to sell these cars through online auction on 3 and 4 November.