REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA MINISTRY OF FINANCE CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATION ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATION REALISED IN JANUARY 2009 February, 2009 I. Institutional Capacity Building
1. In order to provide greater cargo security and appropriate customs surveillance, the
Customs Administration procured and introduced for test use a new kind of security customs seals with unique serial numbers, the use of which shall be electronically registered. The new seals shall replace the existing ones (a lead piece which is pressed by hallmark bearing pliers over a metal strip), because their use and application could not be registered or recorded and they are easy to misuse.
The users of simplified procedures, holders of an authorisation to use special seals, will very soon be obliged to stop using the old lead seals and start using new security seals with unique serial numbers. In order to obtain an authorisation for use of such new seals, they will have to submit an official request to the Customs Administration of the Republic of Macedonia.
2. On 23rd January 2009 in Skopje, the Director General of the Customs Administration and
the Director of the Financial Area of the Italian Customs Agency, Ms. Mirella Lavato (leader of the IT@MAC Consortium – implementer of the Project) signed a Contract for Procurement of a Customs Declaration Processing System (CDPS).
This Contract and the implementation of the new customs software is part of the modernisation of the customs operations, as well as achievement of the efforts and commitments for faster flow of goods, introduction of high IT standards and interconnectivity with the European Commission and the EU Member States. This customs software, developed by the latest EU standards, will provide the grounds for further adoption, implementation and enforcement of the EU customs legislation, as well as introduction of higher standards in the automatic processing of customs documents.
3. The installation of the application for data exchange with the Public Revenue Office is in
its final stage, the hardware equipment is ready and a communication line has been established through a VPN1 access. Through this system, the Customs Administration and the Public Revenue Office are going to exchange classified information and data concerning legal and natural entities, necessary for prevention of corruption and fight against economic crime.
4. At the beginning of January this year, the Customs Administration started the
implementation of the developed Integrated Information System (IIS) for archiving documents and management of the work flows. The aim of this project, which is in its pilot test phase, is introduction of an electronic management system (eDMS) as well as management of the material and financial matters of the Customs Administration. Based on the proscribed methodologies, procedures and regulations, the document operations in the IIS include: receipt of documents, making case files in the Customs Administration, processing of cases and documents, their verification, forwarding and archiving in digital form.
5. In conformity with the Customs Code Implementing Regulation, the Customs
Administration started to grant approvals to requests for inward processing by only presenting a customs declaration, i.e. simplified the issuance of authorisations for inward processing. This means that the request for authorisation can be submitted by only presenting the customs declaration in regular procedure for inward processing.
6. Guidelines for the operation with the CCTV2 system for video surveillance, recording and
transmission by the Customs Administration have been adopted within this month. The Guidelines lay down the manner of operation, selective surveillance based on risk analysis, the authorisation needed for access to the system, as well as the manner of lending and use of the recorded material.
7. In January 2009, the Customs Administration collected MKD 2.724 million (about EUR
44.7 million) of import duties, being by 17 % less compared to the same period in 2008.
Out of the total budget proceeds, MKD 427 million (about EUR 7 million) was collected as customs duties and other related taxes, being by 28% more compared to the same period in 2008. The collected proceeds from VAT in January 2009 are MKD 2.220 million (EUR 36 million), being by 23% less than the same month in 2008. The revenues collected from excise duties in January 2009 are MKD 62 million (EUR 1 million), being by 6% less, compared to 2008.
With regard to the compensations, a total of MKD 15 million (about EUR 246 thousand) was collected, which is by 66 % more, compared to the amount collected within the same period in 2008.
The decrease of revenue collected for 17% in January 2009, when compared to 2008 is due to the reduction of import of unprocessed and raw materials which are exempted from customs duties, i.e. are subject to payment of VAT only.
II. Administrative Capacity Building 8. In January 2009, the Customs Administration took part in the organisation of the
following training courses, workshops, seminars and working meetings: - two courses on the use of the electronic document management system; - in co-operation with the US Embassy in Skopje, basic training course on
investigations and analysis concerning weapons of mass destruction;
- four identical courses on the use of the application for the ledger and the
import/export of foreign and domestic currencies;
- two courses on the application of the Operational Instruction for the system for
assessment of the work performance of the customs officials;
- in order to familiarise the customs officials with the newly adopted Guidelines for
different procedures and operations in the daily working activities, two courses were organised for the application of the Guidelines for selective controls in the customs operations;
- in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, four one-day training sessions on
handling fire arms and shooting were organised for customs officials.
The above mentioned training courses (a total of 15), with duration of 1,093 hours were attended by 182 customs officials. The average duration for those who participated is 6 hours, while the average time spent at training is 0.98 hours by employee of the Customs Administration
Based on the analysis of the training needs, a Training Plan for 2009 was adopted, according to which the future training activities will be organised and carried out.
III. Integrity and fight against corruption 9. On grounds of different findings and acquired information in January 2009, a total of 9
internal investigations were carried out in the organizational units of the Customs Administration. These resulted in five Reports indicating that there are reasonable doubts to believe that the customs officials have acted against the law. Four other reports did not indicate any findings of infringement of the law by the customs officials involved. Within the same month, the inspectors of the Internal Inspection Department carried out inspection of the cases of verification of proofs of origin, which have resulted in denial, i.e. invalidation of the proof of origin. The inspectors examined the operations and the activities to be undertaken, as recommended in the Reports from the controls carried out in the Customs House Stip. Six Reports have been submitted to the competent managers and the Control and Investigation Sector.
10. Seven disciplinary procedures were realized within the same month against seven
customs officials. Three of these resulted in disciplinary procedure – fine and in the other four cases, the procedures were stopped.
11. In January 2009, three audits were carried out in the Customs Administration: Audit on
the enhancement of the communication between the Coordination and Communication Department with the other organizational units of the Customs Administration, Audit on the regularity of the annual inventory of assets, sources of the assets, as well as claims and obligations of the Customs Administration for 2007, in conformity with the Operational Instruction for inventory and adjustment of the bookkeeping with the real situation of the Customs Administration; Follow-up Audit of the recommendations given by the State Audit Office on audits of the Reports issued in 2007, concerning the period of 2006, the recommendations of the internal audit realized in 2007 and 2008 and the recommendations given by the Inventory Committee concerning the inventory realized in 2007. These resulted in 10 findings and 4 recommendations given for measures to be undertaken.
IV. Transparency 12. Of the 6,493 calls, an average of 208 a day, received on the customs hot line 197, during
January 2009, there were: - 5 class A calls (information demanding immediate action by the Customs Office or
the Mobile Teams) on grounds of which appropriate actions were undertaken;
- 2 class B calls (information demanding further investigation by other units of the
Control and Investigation Sector or other Departments of the Customs Administration, later forwarded to the Intelligence Department and the Investigations Department for additional processing);
- 11 class J calls (information forwarded to the Sector for Professional Responsibility,
related to citizens’ complaints for corruptive or unprofessional conduct by the customs officials) the analysis made so far concerning these calls it has been established that for only 10% of these calls actions can be undertaken and the cases can see conclusion, while 90% of the calls do not provide enough information for initiation of investigations and are qualified as groundless.
13. A total of 78 Requests demanding assistance, control of persons/vehicles on entrance or
exit, have been sent to the Border Police, five requests have been sent to the Call Centre for Emergency Situations within the Public Security Bureau of the Ministry of Interior, all of which were appropriately responded to.
14. In January 2009, there were 92 notifications published on the Customs Administration’s
official web-site, in Macedonian, English and Albanian language. Notifications are continuously published on the intranet portal for the customs officials.
IV. Prevention of illicit import, export and transit of goods and protection of intellectual property rights
15. On grounds of intelligence information and risk analysis in January 2009, the Special
Mobile Units of the Customs Administration controlled 355 trucks, 212 buses and 194 cars, or a total of 761 vehicles at the borders and on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia. The Mobile X-Ray Unit scanned a total of 1,142 freight motor vehicles, 17 buses and 161 cars, i.e. a total of 1,320 vehicles. All these controls resulted in detection and seizure of different goods (excise goods, textile products, as well as counterfeit goods bearing marks of several protected brands).
Meanwhile, the controls conducted by the customs officials of the Border and Inland Customs Offices, prevented several attempts for smuggling and these actions resulted in seizures of over 380,000 items or over 150 different kinds of trade goods: - 21,850 cigarettes; - 250,000 meters of thread; - 163,200 balloons; - 89,000 razors; - 29,760 packets of toothpicks; - 20,000 packets of paper plates; - 12,027 litres of petroleum jelly; - 7,150 pieces of small resistors; - 5,000 kg balance barbells; - 3,000 pieces of metal and barbells; - 1,320 packets of pate; - large quantity of different textile articles and household products; On 28th January 2009, an empty freight motor vehicle with Serbian license plates was declared for exit from Macedonia at the border crossing Tabanovce (Macedonian border with Serbia). The customs official authorised for control and registering the vehicles exiting the country, doubted the authenticity of the presented bilateral permit for international truck transport and therefore carried out a detailed inspection of the driver’s cab. He found other 14 already used bilateral permits, as well as one unused permit for a third country. The analysis of the mentioned documents proved the falsified character of the documents. An urgent procedure to establish the driver’s criminal liability has been initiated before the competent court. The misuse of forged international truck transport permits by certain transporters from Serbia and their transport of goods to and from Macedonia causes serious damage to the Macedonian transporters, who are holders of licenses for international transport of goods due to the uncompetitive and illegal offer on the market for the transport services by their colleagues from Serbia. The inspection of a freight motor vehicle with container loaded with goods imported from China, which was carried out at the Customs Office Skopje on 15th January 2009 resulted in detection of 2,000 undeclared pills and supplements with estimated value of about EUR 9,000. The undeclared goods, concealed in bags of socks consist of skilfully produced counterfeits of 1,480 Viagra pills, 380 Cialis pills and 90 Bolishi capsules. The undeclared goods, which are subject to mandatory license issued by the Ministry of Health - Bureau for Drugs, were impounded, a Report on committed customs offence was drawn up, stating the real state of affairs. After obtaining all evidence, exhibits and
proofs, a Request for initiation of criminal proceedings against the persons responsible was submitted before the Public Prosecutor’s Office Skopje. On 22nd January 2009 at the Border Crossing Bogorodica (Macedonian border with Greece) at entrance into Macedonia, the officials found EUR 33,435 (different denominations), concealed in the front right wheel of a bus with Romanian license plates. The money was placed in several envelopes, which bore the names of the addressees. The officials of the border crossing Medzitlija (Macedonian border with Greece) found 94 undeclared bullets of carbine rifles and 55 pieces of different jewellery (earrings, bracelets, rings, pendants and necklaces). At the Border Crossing Tabanovce (Macedonian border with Serbia) the officials detected 210 pieces of professional electric tools and sets of the HILTI brand (grinder, laser levellers and measurers, drills, diamond discus and chisels) and 4 mobile phones NOKIA 66, with estimated worth of MKD 590,000, found in a passenger motor vehicle AUDI A3 with Italian license plates. The vehicle was driven by a Macedonian citizen E.B. having temporary stay in Italy. Besides the afore-mentioned, the customs officials of the Operational Matters Department (Special Mobile Units) impounded the following goods: 2,713 automobile spare parts (2,500 Bosna Super car plugs, 100 thermostats, 38 roller bearings, 5 lamellas etc) and 540 packs of different medicines (Skopril Plus, Ciproflokcasin, Hydrohlorotyziazid, Holesta, Laonal, Panzul, Lizepam, Pronison, Cerson, Omeprazol, Risperdon), found at the border crossing point Jazince on 23rd January 2009 on a bus with Kosovan license plates declared for entrance into Macedonia. The goods were concealed in the tool box and in the luggage area. The bus was travelling on the regular line Tetovo-Urosevac-Pristine. On 12th January 2009, the customs officials of the border crossing Bogorodica (Macedonian border with Greece) detected and impounded 9,270 electro-elements (transistors and resistants). The goods were concealed under the switchboard. 150 birds of the protected species Carduelis Carduelis and Canabina Acanthihic (nightingale) were found on 18th January 2009 at exit from Macedonia in the boot, concealed under the spare tire of a car with Macedonian license plates, driven by a person with initials S.T., a Macedonian citizen.
16. For the detected attempts for illicit traffic of goods and other illegal activities, a total of
243 requests for initiation of offence proceedings were submitted to the Commission on Customs Offence Procedures and Sanctions, within the Customs Administration, out of which: 38 requests for bringing offence charges, submitted by the Ministry of Interior in relation to vehicles, 17 requests for initiation of offence proceedings on grounds of Reports on committed customs offences, submitted by the Control and Investigation Sector, 149 requests for initiation of offence proceedings on grounds of Customs Offence Reports, submitted by the Customs Offices, 7 requests received from the Unit for Surveillance of Holders of Authorizations and the rest of 32 are returned cases by the First Instance Courts which have been proclaimed as no longer competent. During January 2009, the Commission on Customs Offence Procedures and Sanctions finalized a total of 47 cases in regular and urgent procedures and imposed fines in the amount of MKD 3.4 million (about EUR 55 thousand) and confiscated the goods subject to the offences.
17. During January 2009 the Customs Administration issued 610 summons for payment of
fines, i.e. imposed mandatory fines to the perpetrators of customs offences in a total amount of MKD 9.1 million (about EUR 150 thousand).
18. In January 2009, the Customs Administration passed 93 Decisions on additional
collection of outstanding customs debt in total amount of MKD 5.2 million (about EUR 85 thousand).
19. Within this period, the Customs Administration carried out post-clearance audits in 15
companies, on grounds of which a total of 5 proposals for subsequent collection of outstanding customs debt in the amount of MKD 62,043.
20. During January 2009, the Customs Administration pressed charges in 11 cases before the
Public Prosecutor’s Offices against 13 natural and 3 legal entities.
The afore-mentioned entities are accused of: smuggling: criminal charges brought against 7 natural and 1 legal entity, transport and trade in excise goods with no tax stickers – criminal charges brought against 2 natural persons, forgery and use of forged document, removal and destruction of customs markings - criminal charges brought in one case against 1 natural person, customs fraud- criminal charges brought in 2 cases against 3 natural and 2 legal entities. The total value of the goods, subject to the criminal acts is MKD 2.9 million (about EUR 47.7 thousand) and the amount of evaded taxes is MKD 9 million (about EUR 134 thousand).
21. In January 2009, the Customs Administration prevented 6 attempts for violation of
intellectual property rights and impounded 7,992 pieces of different goods. The majority of the impounded goods included:
- 4,800 mobile phone chargers; - 1,316 calculators; - 533 pieces of textile articles (working uniforms, tops, jeans, shirts, T-shirts) - 600 wallets; - 300 mobile phone cases; - 235 metal CD cases; - 160 watches; - 48 epilators.
Four trademarks, registered for customs trademark protection within last year, including: ETIMAT, PARROT, VICTORIA and CASIO have been re-registered for another year starting 01st until 31st January 2009. In January 2009, the Customs Administration passed Decisions for destruction of 1,309 pieces of counterfeit goods.
V. Inter-Institutional and International Cooperation and Projects 22. On 30th January 2009, the Director General of the Customs Administration, the President
of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia, the President of the Chambers of Commerce of Macedonia, the President of the Economic Chamber for North-West Macedonia, the Secretary General of MAKAMTRANS - Association of Independent Transporters’ Syndicates, Manager of the Association of Macedonian Enterprises for Road International Transport “Makedonija Soobrakaj” (A.M.E.R.I.T) and the President of Economic Chamber's Freight Forwarders Group signed a Memorandum on Cooperation and a Memorandum Establishing an Advisory Body.
The aim of the Memoranda is to promote the partnership between the Customs Administration and the business community and ensure high level of trade security and facilitation. The Advisory Body will be created as referred to in the standards established by the Convention of Simplification and Harmonization of the Customs Procedures (Reviewed Kyoto Convention), ratified by the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia in January 2008.
22. The Customs Administration, in cooperation with the Economic Chamber of Macedonia
organised a practical presentation on the operation of the Single Window System for import/export licensing and quota – EXIM for the business community (export/import companies and customs representatives).
This system provides the Macedonian companies, involved in international trade, the possibility to electronically submit requests and obtain licenses for import, export and transit from all fifteen issuing agencies in Macedonia and to apply for allocation of quota.
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