Home » Customs & Trade » 2 CBW operators charged with smuggling

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) last week filed smuggling charges against two customs bonded warehouse (CBW) operators engaged in the importation of polyester/cotton yarn and ghost re-exportation of finished products (knitted t-shirts).

Charged before the Department of Justice were Skyland Manufacturing Corporation and Rajmin Garments Manufacturing Corporation for misusing their bonded warehousing privileges in order to defraud government of over P80 million in duties and taxes between January and mid-November this year.

Both companies hold office at the fifth level of Cityland Pasong Tamo Tower, 2210 Pasong Tamo Street, Makati City.

"We consider these technical smuggling cases as a veritable breakthrough since this is the first time in recent memory that the criminal liability of bonded warehouse users has been established, documented and developed into an airtight case," Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez said.

"We have always wanted to nail down bonded warehouse smugglers because their modi operandi are widely believed to be a major cause of revenue leakages. These modi operandi include diversion of the imported raw materials into the local market, illegal withdrawal of merchandise stored in bonded warehouses, and, as is the case of Skyland and Rajmin, ghost exportation of finished products.," he explained.

Alvarez said the two companies were being managed by just one person, a certain Ramesh Mithod Uttamchandani.

Aside from Uttamchandani, sued by the BOC were Duru Mithod Uttamchandani and Consolacion Navarro Morales, major stockholder and import manager, respectively, of Skyland; and, Merly Palma Pacardo, export manager of Rajmin.

Also included in charge sheets were John Doe/s and Jane Doe/s, among them customs employees who allowed the two companies to evade payment of the correct duties and taxes.

According to the BOC, the companies’ scheme of deception was to declare their importations of raw materials for garments manufacture as warehousing entries. The Tariff and Customs Code provides that any imported material used in the manufacture of articles in bonded manufacturing warehouses are not subject to duties and taxes on condition that the finished products are re-exported to another country and that materials not used in the manufacture of said articles shall be assessed the corresponding duties and taxes.

Documented proofs, however, showed the two companies did not re-export anything.

All of Skyland's importations passed through the Port of Manila while those of Rajmin went through the Manila International Container Port.

Both companies apparently used fake shipping and export declaration documents to make it appear that the polyester/cotton yarns they imported were used to produce knitted t-shirts and that the same were re-exported.

For violating terms of their warehousing privileges, the BOC said the two companies should not only be asked to pay the corresponding duties and taxes on the subject importations totaling P80,992,835 (P68,862,173 for Skyland and P12,130,662 for Rajmin) but their entire shipments with a combined dutiable value of P406,071,165 should also be forfeited in favor of the government.

Skyland and Rajmin also stand to lose P406,071,165 spent on imported raw materials.

BOC will subject Skyland and Rajmin to post-entry audit of all their previous importations to determine if the same modi operandi were used in the past.

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