This article provides an overview of the civil and criminal penalties under the customs Act.  An individual can face civil and criminal penalties when goods are passed through Bangladesh Customs House.


Offences and Penalties under Customs Act

Once an offence has been committed, S.156 states the punishments for various offences. Some examples of common offences include:


Undeclared goods

A particular good has been declared on a bill of entry but it is later found that the undeclared goods have been concealed or mixed with the declared goods to avoid duty.

Penalty: The owner of the goods and every person who aids or abets this concealment will be liable to a penalty not exceeding 50,000 Taka and both the declared and undeclared goods shall be liable to confiscation.


Wrong Package

When a product requires a bill of entry but the goods are packaged in a way where the intention is to deceive the Customs officer.

Penalty: The owner of the goods and every person who aids or abets this concealment will be liable to a penalty not exceeding 50,000 Taka and the goods shall be liable to confiscation.


False Declaration

An owner of the baggage fails to make a correct declaration of its contents or refuses to answer any questions asked by the appropriate officer regarding his baggage

Penalty: The owner will be liable to a penalty not exceeding 3 times the value of the goods in respect of which no declaration or incorrect declaration has been made.


Knowledge of crime

If any person has knowledge of the commission of any offence under this Act fails to give information in writing to the officer in charge of the nearest customs house or the nearest police station.

Penalty: Such person shall be liable to imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine not exceeding 50,000 Taka.


Mis-description of package

If any omission or misdescription of packaging leads to loss of revenue for Customs.

Penalty: The guilty person shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 10 times the amount of duty which might have been lost to the Government by such omission or misdescription. However, if the customs officer in charge is satisfied that the incident was accidental then no penalty will be imposed.


Prohibited Goods

If any prohibited or dutiable goods are found in any passenger’s baggage.

Penalty: The passenger shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 5 times the value of goods and the said goods shall also be liable to confiscation.


Process of imposing penalty under customs

Before passing an order of confiscation of any goods or imposing any penalty on any person, a few formalities must be followed:

  1. It must be informed in writing of the grounds on which it is proposed to confiscate the goods or to impose the penalty;
  2. The person should be given an opportunity of making a representation in writing within a reasonable period of time; and
  3. The person should be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard personally or through an authorized agent.


What can be confiscated under customs?

  • Confiscation of any products includes any package in which they are found and all other contents of the said package.
  • Any conveyance used in the removal of goods liable to confiscation may also be confiscated. Conveyance may include a bus, truck or any other vehicle.

Punishment of persons accompanying a person possessing goods liable to confiscation

If there is more than one person found together and any one of them has goods which are subject to confiscation under this Act, then every person having knowledge of this fact is guilty of an offence and it will be assumed as if the goods were found on all the individuals involved. (S.178 of The Customs Act, 1969)


Untrue Statement, Error, etc under customs.

If any person produces a document to a Customs officer and the statement made in the document turns out to be untrue then that person shall be guilty of an offence under S.32 of the Act. Under this section, the said person will be liable to a penalty of at least twice but not exceeding four times the amount of the tax evaded. In addition, the person shall be further liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding 50,000 Taka or both.

If any duty or charge has not been levied due to an error, then the person liable to pay will be served a notice within 3 years of the relevant date requiring him to show cause why he should not pay the amount specified in the notice.


Customs Lawyer in Bangladesh

There are various lawyers in Bangladesh. Customs Lawyer needs to have special legal and practical knowledge of the customs Act. if you face any Civil and Criminal Penalties by the Customs authority, you can communicate following customs practice lawyer or law firm:

  1. Counsels Law Partners
  2. Huq and Company
  3. Amir & Amir Law Associates
  4. Md Muzammel Hossein
  5. Fox Mandal (FM) Associates

If you want to know more about it please read: Litigation process under Customs Act 1969

Customs law practice at CLP

The Barristers, Advocates, and lawyers at CLP in Dhaka, Bangladesh are highly experienced in dealing with all sorts of disputes related to Customs matters in Bangladesh. For queries or legal assistance, please reach us at E-mail: Phone: +8801700920980 | +8801947470606, Address: Jamila Villa, Flat No. C-2, House-4/A/1, (3rd Floor), Road-02, Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh.


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