Customs DG refutes allegations on imported Prado jeep duty levies

Customs Director General Chulananda Perera refuted allegations levelled against the Customs that 189 Prado jeeps are being released by Customs without charging due levies of duties on imported vehicles properly.

He noted that no misconduct or financial malpractice has taken place in this regard since all levies of duties on imported vehicles are charged prior to the release of these vehicles.

The Customs Director General was addressing a press conference at the Customs Head office yesterday.

He said 189 Toyota Prado TRJ 150W jeeps have been imported to the Hambantota Harbour on concessionary permits given to the public servants and tax payers.

According to the Director General, each vehicle has been valued at JPY 3,375,000 FOB. (Approximately Rs. 4 million). A sum of Rs 5.1 was determined as Customs levy on each vehicle under the Customs levy category 2 (110 percent)..

But, an inquiry carried out by the Central Investigation Bureau of the Customs revealed that the real value of a vehicle would probably be higher than the value declared by the importer and value detained by the Validation Committee of the Customs. As a result of this outcome of the investigation, the Customs seized dispatching of these vehicles until completing the investigation process. The Validation Committee re-valued the vehicle based on the manufacturer’s value referring the Yellow Book at Rs 4.3 million. With the increase of vehicle value by Rs 0.3 million, an additional levy of Rs. 1.6million is charged on each vehicle under Category 3 (125 percent).

“Having considered the appeals of importers and concerns of the Customs investigators, it was decided to apply the revised FO Bvalue of JPY 3,640,200 to assess the duties for vehicle identifies as fitted with extra options” Perera said.

He added that Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake instructed the Customs to release the vehicle after charging the full levy imposed on each vehicle. Accordingly, Rs 6.7 million is charged on each vehicle.

“No financial misconduct has taken place in this regard and the entire process is transparent,” Perera noted.

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