The Chattogram customs has found powdered milk in place of electronics in a consignment in the Chattogram port.
Prime Trading, a Dhaka-based importer, declared the import of two tonnes of electronic products from Dubai but after checking the consignment at the Chattogram port, 8.5 tonnes of powdered milk were found.
Later, the customs seized the goods from the port. The information was disclosed on Thursday night.
Rezaul Karim, deputy commissioner of the Audit Investigation and Research (AIR) unit of Chattogram Customs, told The Business Standard, as per the rules, when the shipment arrived, the goods were unloaded from the container and stored in shed-12 of the port.
On behalf of the importer, Kulgaon Traders Limited, a Clearing & Forwarding (C&F) agent in Chattogram, came to receive the goods.
Then, the C&F agent submitted the bill of entry to the customs house on September 10 to take the delivery, Rezaul added.
When the customs officials went to examine the products, the C&F representative allegedly showed them another electronics shipment kept in the shed for test.
When an attempt was made to clear the products in two covered-vans after paying a customs duty of Tk2.5 lakh for the electronic goods, the vehicles were seized by the AIR team.
Subsequent product tests by the AIR found an attempt to evade Tk28 lakh in duty through false declaration.
When contacted, Razu khan, managing director of Kulgaon Traders Limited, the C&F agent nominated by the importer, said, "We will not take any responsibility for this because we do not generally know what the importers bring."
The importer, Prime Trading, could not be reached by The Business Standard.
Additionally, as per the import policy, when importing powdered milk, the packets must have the phrase "There is no alternative to breastfeeding" clearly printed on them. The milk must also be examined by the Bangladesh Standards & Testing Institution (BSTI) to verify if it is consumable. In this case, none of the conditions were met.
"The process of filing a case on duty evasion is underway and the investigation is going on to find those responsible and whether there has been any fraud," said Mohammad Fakhrul Alam, commissioner of Chattogram Customs.