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Part 12 - Customs Legal Actions

Chapter One: Investigation of smuggling

Article 120
Customs officers shall combat smuggling. To this effect, they are authorized to inspect the goods, the means of transport and to search persons under the provisions herein and the other applicable Laws. The body search of women shall be conducted only by a female inspector. In the event there are adequate evidences of the presence of contraband and after obtaining permission from the Competent Authority, the customs officers shall be entitled to inspect any house, store or shop according to the applicable Laws.
Customs officers shall not be held responsible for the damages resulting from the proper performance of their jobs.  

Article 121
In their capacity as judicial officers, authorized customs officers shall have the right to get aboard the vessels anchoring in the local ports or those entering or leaving such ports and to stay aboard until the cargo is unloaded and they may inspect all parts of the vessel.

Article 122
In their capacity as judicial officers, authorized customs officers shall have the right to get aboard the vessels in the Customs Zone for inspection or presentation of the cargo Manifest and the other required documents under the provisions herein; when refraining from producing such documents or in the absence of such documents and when contraband or prohibited goods are suspected to be concealed, Customs officers may take all necessary measures to seize such goods and shall lead the vessel to the nearest Customs Administration.

Article 123
The Department may take the appropriate actions for investigating and detecting smuggling inside and outside the Customs Administration according to the rules laid down by the Authority.

Article 124
Investigation of smuggling, seizure of goods and proving customs offences may be conducted on all goods within the territories of the State in the following areas:
1- In the Customs Zones.
2- At the Customs Administrations, seaports, airports and all the places subject to customs control.
3- Beyond the customs zones when continuously tracking smuggled goods that have been witnessed within the zone in a situation that obviously indicates that they are intended to be smuggled

Article 125
In their capacity as judicial officers, customs officers shall be entitled to have access to the papers, documents, records, correspondence, commercial contracts and instruments whatsoever, directly or indirectly relating to the customs operations, and to seize them when offences are found out, which shall be done at the premises of the shipping and transportation companies and the natural and legal persons involved in customs operations. Such companies and persons shall keep all the aforesaid documents for a period of five years from the date of completion of the customs operations.  

Article 126
In their capacity as judicial officers, customs officers may detain any person suspected to have committed or attempted to commit a smuggling offence or involved in committing, transporting of contraband or acquisition thereof



Chapter Two: Seizure report


Article 127
When the offences and crimes of customs smuggling are detected, a seizure report shall be made by at least two customs officers of the Department staff. It may be made by one customs officer when necessary.  

Article 128
The seizure report shall contain the following details:
The place, date and hour in letters and figures it is prepared.
Names of the customs officers who had detected the offence and those who had prepared the seizure report, signatures thereon, and the nature of their jobs.
Names of the offenders or those responsible for smuggling, their nationalities, characteristics, occupations and detail addresses.
Seized goods, kinds and quantities thereof, their value and tariff heading, place, date and hour of seizure.
Detailed facts, statements of the offenders or the individuals responsible for smuggling and statements of witnesses, if any.
An indication in the seizure report that it has been recited to the offenders or those involved in smuggling who had approved it by signing thereon; or refused to do so.
All the other useful documents and the presence or absence of the offenders or those involved in smuggling when making inventory of the goods.
Referring samples of the seized contraband to the competent authorities for verification of prohibited materials.
Identifying the Authority to which contraband has been delivered and taking an acknowledgement of receipt.
Identifying the security entity to which the smugglers has been delivered and the hour and date of delivery.  

Article 129
The seizure report prepared according to the preceding two Articles shall be a proof of the material facts that have been seen by the customs officers who had prepared the seizure report, unless proved otherwise.
The formal deficiency in the seizure report shall not cause such report to be null and may not be returned to the customs officers who had prepared the report unless such deficiency is relating to material facts.

Article 130
The Customs Administration may detain the goods subject of offence or smuggling and the other items used for concealment as well as the means of transport whatsoever i.e. boats, vehicles and animals excluding vessels, aircraft and public buses intended for the transport of passengers, unless they are specially designed for smuggling purposes.  

Article 131
 Smuggled goods or those attempted to be smuggled such as narcotic drugs and the like shall be disposed of according to the laws in force.  



Chapter Three: Precautionary Provisional measures


Section One: Precautionary Provisional seizure


  • Article 132

    Customs officers executing the seizure report may seize the goods -subject of smuggling or offence- and the means of concealment and transport thereof and seize all documents in order to prove the offences or smuggling and to secure the duties, taxes and fines.
    The Director General may, mutatis mutandis, have an order issued by the competent authorities to effect provisional attachment on the properties of the offenders and smugglers as a security of the payment of the customs duties and taxes and fines and implementation of the final decisions and awards issued in this respect.  

  • Article 133

     The Director General may, mutatis mutandis, and as a guarantee of the public Treasury's rights, impose a customs security on the property of the tax duties payers or their partners.

  • Article 133

     Arrest may be authorized only in the following cases:
    1. Smugglers caught in flagrante delicto.
    2. Resistance to customs officers or security officers that impedes seizure or investigation of smuggling cases or smuggling offences or the persons involved therein.
    The authorized customs officers or the security authorities shall issue the arrest order. The arrested person(s) shall be presented to the juristic court within 24 from the time of arrest.  
    Section Two: Preventing the offenders and the persons accused of smuggling from leaving the State.

    Section Two: Preventing the offenders and the persons accused of smuggling from leaving the State
    Article 135
    The Director General or his authorized representative may ask the competent authorities to prevent the offenders or the persons accused of smuggling from leaving the State, if the value of the seized goods is not sufficient to cover the taxes, duties and fines.
    Such prevention order shall be cancelled if the offender or the person accused of smuggling has submitted a bail equivalent to the claimed amounts or if it is found out thereafter that the value of the seized gods is sufficient to cover the claimed amounts. 


Chapter Four: Customs offences and penalties thereof

Article 136
The collected customs fines and seizures provided for herein are deemed as a civil compensation to the Authority and shall not be covered by the provisions of amnesty.  

Article 137
In the event of multiple offences, fines shall be imposed on each offence separately and the severest fine will be sufficient if the offences are so correlated and cannot be separated.  

Article 138
 Save as in the smuggling cases provided for in Article 140 herein and without prejudice to the international agreements in force, a fine shall be imposed on the following offences according to the rules of implementation of this Law:
  1. Offences of importation and exportation.
  2. Offences of customs declarations.
  3. Offences of goods in transit.
  4. Offences of warehouses.
  5. Offences of zones under control of customs.
  6. Offences of temporary admission.
  7. Offences of re-exportation.
  8. Any other offences.


Chapter Five: Smuggling and penalties thereof

Section One: Smuggling

Article 139
Smuggling is to bring or attempt to bring goods into or out of the State in contravention to the applicable laws without payment of the customs taxes “duties, in whole or in part, or contrary to the provisions of prohibition or restriction provided for herein or in the other laws.  

Article 140
The following actions are particularly deemed as smuggling:
  1. Not proceeding with the goods to the first port of entry Customs Administration.
  2. Not following the routes specified for getting the goods into or out of the State.
  3. Unloading or loading the ships contrary to the Laws applicable at the Customs Administration or unloading or loading the ships beyond the marine Customs Zone.
  4. Subject to the provisions of Article 38 herein, illegal unloading or loading of aircraft cargo outside official airports or dropping goods during flight.
  5. Not declaring at Customs Administration the incoming or outgoing goods without a Manifest including the goods accompanied by passengers, which have a commercial character.
  6. When the goods surpass the Customs Administration at entry or exit without being declared.
  7. Discovering goods, not declared to a Customs Administration, concealed in places or cavities not usually designed for containing such goods.
  8. Increase, shortage or alteration in the number of the packages or the contents thereof in a situation suspending the duties provided for in Part VII herein discovered after the goods have left the Customs Administration. This provision applies to the goods that have illegally transited the State or without finalization of their customs procedures in which case the carrier shall be held responsible.
  9. Failure to produce the evidences prescribed by the Department to justify suspensions of the customs taxes “duties”.
  10. Taking the goods out of the free zones and duty-free shops, customs warehouses, stores or Customs Zones without finalization of their customs procedures.
  11. Producing false, fraudulent or fabricated documents or lists or affixing false marks intended to evade the customs taxes “duties”, in whole or in part, or to avoid the provisions of prohibition and restriction.
  12. Transporting or acquisition of prohibited or restricted goods without submitting evidences supporting their legal importation.
  13. Transporting or acquisition of goods subject to customs authority within the Customs Zone without legal documents.
  14. Not re-importation of the goods prohibited from exportation that were temporarily exported for any purpose whatsoever.  


Section Two: Penal responsibility

Article 141
Subject to the provisions of the penal code, the following shall be deemed criminally responsible:
Principal perpetrators offenders.
Partners in the offence.
Inciters and interferes.
Possessors of contraband.
Owners of the means of transport used for smuggling, drivers and assistants who are proven to be involved in the contraband.
Owners or tenants of the shops and places where contraband are kept or the beneficiaries who are proved to be aware of the presence of contraband in their shops or places. 


Section Three: Penalties

Article 142
Without prejudice to any higher penalty provided for in the other laws, smuggling, like offences and the attempt to commit any of them, shall be penalised as follows:
If the smuggled goods are subject to high customs taxes “duties”, the penalty shall be a fine not less than double the payable customs taxes “duties” and not more than double the value of the goods and/or imprisonment for not less than one month but not to exceed one year. For the other goods, the penalty shall be a fine not less than double the payable customs taxes “duties” and not more than the value of the goods and/or imprisonment for not less than one month but not to exceed one year.
If smuggled goods are exempted from customs taxes “duties”, the penalty shall be a fine of not less than ten percent of the value of the goods and not more than their value and/or imprisonment for not less than one month but not to exceed one year.
If smuggled goods are prohibited ones, the penalty shall be a fine not less than the value of the goods, but not more than three times the value thereof; and/or imprisonment for not less than six months, but not to exceed three years.
In all cases, the smuggled goods shall be confiscated or a fine equivalent to the value thereof when the goods are not seized shall be imposed.
Means of transportation and the tools and materials used in smuggling shall be confiscated, excluding public means of transportation such as ships, aircraft, trains and public vehicles, unless they are intended or hired for smuggling purposes, or imposing a fine equivalent to their value when goods are not seized.
The penalty may be doubled if the offence is repeated.  

Article 143
The Director General may hold the goods and the seized means of transport in case the smugglers have escaped or could not be caught and sell them according to the provisions of Part 13 herein and the proceeds of sale shall revert to the government upon the expiry of one year from the date of sale with the smugglers not being caught. Should the smugglers be caught or brought to court during this period and the goods have been ordered to be confiscated, the order of confiscation shall apply to the proceeds of sale.  



Chapter Six: Prosecutions Pursuits

Section One: Administrative prosecutions pursuits

Article 144
The Director General may issue the necessary decisions for collection of the payable customs taxes “duties”, other fees and fixed customs fines, which the payer has not paid.
Objection to the collection decisions may be made to the Authority within fifteen days from the notification date. Nevertheless, this shall not stay execution of the orders Judgments unless the claimed amounts are paid under deposit through a bank guarantee or in cash.  

Article 145
The fines provided for in chapter IV of this Part shall be imposed by a decision of the Director General or the authorized representative thereof.
The offender or the representative shall be notified of the imposed fine by a written notice through the competent Authority. The offender shall pay the fines within fifteen days from the date of notification.

Article 146
The penalisation orders judgments referred to in the preceding Article may be appealed before the Authority during the same period and the Authority has the right to confirm, amend or cancel the penalisation order.  


Section Two: Prosecution of the smuggling offences

Article 147
The action of smuggling offences may be considered only upon written request from the Director General. 


Section Three: Conciliatory settlement compromise

Article 148
The Director General or his authorized representative may, upon a written request by the person concerned, make a compromise conciliation, in the smuggling issues, and the like as stipulated in Chapter IV of Part 12 herein, whether prior to the bringing of the action or when the action is being tried and prior to the issuance of the first instant judgment which will be in lieu of the prosecution.
The Guide of the Reconciliatory Settlements shall be issued by a decision of the Authority.

Article 149
Subject to the provisions of the preceding Article, the conciliatory settlement compromise shall be as follows:
  1. If contraband are goods that are subject to high customs taxes “duties” , the penalty shall be a fine not less than twice the amount of the customs taxes ' duties” and not exceeding double the value of the goods.
  2. As regards the other commodities, the penalty shall be a fine not less than the amount of the payable customs taxes ' duties” and not exceeding 50% of the value of the goods.
  3. If the smuggled goods are not subject to customs taxes “duties” exempted, the penalty shall be a fine not less than 10% of the value of the goods and not more than 50% of their value.
  4. If smuggled goods are prohibited ones, the penalty shall be a fine not less than the value of the goods and not more than three times their value.
  5. Confiscation, release or re-exportation wholly or partially of the smuggled goods in question.
  6. Confiscation of the means of transport together with the tools and materials used for smuggling excluding the public means of transport such as vessels, aircraft and cars unless these are designed or rented for this purpose.  



Chapter Seven: Liability and Joint liability

Article 151
The offence and the consequent civil liability in the smuggling offences arise when the material evidences thereof are available. Good faith or ignorance shall not be taken into account. However, the offender shall be exonerated from liability if the offender is proved to be a victim of a force majeure. Whoever proves that he has not committed any act of offence or smuggling or caused it to occur or be committed shall be exonerated from liability. The civil liability shall include, in addition to the offenders and smugglers, the partners, financiers, sponsors, beneficiaries, agents, clients, donators, carriers, possessors and consigners of the goods.  

Article 152 |
Investors of private shops and premises wherein infringing or smuggled goods are kept shall be held responsible. Whereas investors and employees of public shops and premises as well as the owners, drivers and assistants of public means of transport shall be held responsible unless they prove their ignorance of the presence of such infringing or smuggled goods and that they have no direct or indirect interest therein.

Article 153
Guarantors shall be responsible, within the limits of their guarantees, for the payment of customs taxes “duties”, fines and the other amounts payable to the Authority by the principal payers

Article 154
 Customs brokers shall be fully responsible for the violations and smuggling offences they or their authorized employees commit in the customs declarations. But they will not be responsible for the undertakings submitted in the Customs Declarations unless such undertakings are made by them or they have guaranteed the undertakers.  

Article 155
 Owners of the goods, employers and carriers of goods shall be responsible for the acts of their employees and all the persons working for their account in respect to the duties and taxes collected by the Customs Administration and the fines and confiscations provided for herein as a result of such acts.  

Article 156
 Heirs shall not be responsible for the payment- from their own shares of the heritage- of the fines payable by the dead offenders unless they are partners in smuggling. The action suit shall be relinquished upon the death of the offender.  

Article 157
 Prescribed customs duties, taxes and fines shall be jointly paid by the offenders or the persons liable for smuggling according to the applicable practices for collecting the funds due to the State Treasury. The seized goods and means of transport, if any, shall be a security for the payment of the payable amounts.  


Chapter Eight: Rules of Court Proceedings

Article 158
A Circuit may be established at the First Instance Court to rule in the following:
Hearing all smuggling offences and the like.
Hearing all offences committed against the provisions of this Law and the Rules of Implementation thereof.
Hearing the objections to the collection and fines orders under the provisions of this law.

Article 159
Judgments of the first instance customs court may be appealed before an ad hoc appeal court. The period of appeal shall be thirty days from the date of notification of the first instance judgment by default and from the date of pronouncement of the judgment in presence of the litigant.  

Article 160
Collection and penalization orders and the judgments passed in the customs matters shall be carried out by all means of execution, after having the final status, on the movable and unmovable property of the offenders.
The Minister may issue an order to attach a sufficient amount of such property to cover payment of the claimed amounts.  
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