As a reminder, when a goods arrive at the port to be sold in Mauritius, the forwarder, which manages the freight importer uses a broker for customs clearance procedures with the MRA. Nevertheless, two problems may occur. The first is a simple typo in the value of a product in the clearance documents completed by the forwarder. In this case, they have to pay the difference and a fine calculated on the difference. This penalty may reach Rs 50,000.
In the second case, it is the interpretation of the MRA on the imported product that differs from the freight forwarder. Indeed, there is a register of more than 5 600 products in which are indicated their values. However, freight and MRA are not always agree on the value to be applied. Professionals say that these additional costs are passed on to consumers.
The MRA confirms through his press service that: "the penalty is applied accordance with provisions of the Custom Act for any underpayment, even if the forwarder fact appeal". This is exactly what contesting professionals indicate that this is against the Convention of the WTO which states in Article 11 that "the laws of each Member shall provide the importer or other person responsible for payment as part of the assessment of customs duties, the right of appeal without penalty. "
This grist to the mill of forwarders who had threatened last May, have resorted to drastic measures if the authorities do not respond favorably to their grievances. "It is not normal that we have to pay penalties before appeal. It is as if a person before the judge "were imprisoned, launches a freight forwarder.
The amendments to the Custom Act 1988, which came into force on January 1, stipulate that in the case of an undervaluation of goods by a freight forwarder, it must pay a penalty of 50% of the amount due and that monthly interest of 1%. Nevertheless, it is possible to appeal to the Objections & Appeals Dispute Resolution (OADR) Department. "No other penalty is imposed on freight that appeal," said the MRA.