August 13, 2020 09:11

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Enterprises should strictly manage digital signatures

10:06 | 27/07/2020

VCN - A female staff member of a customs broker abused loopholes in the management of digital signatures to smuggle goods detected by HCM City Customs Department and traced by HCM City police. This act shows the gap inmanaging digital signatures and accounts of both import-export enterprises and customs procedures agents.

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A smuggled shipment was detected by the Saigon Port Area 1 Customs Branch. Photo: T.H

The above case was discovered by the Investment Management Customs Department (HCMC Customs Department) when conducting a search of the imported shipment of Top Star Vietnam Company. According to the customs declaration, the shipment was bicycle helmets, total weight of 2.24 tons, taxable value of goods of VND167 million, VAT amountof VND16.7 million.

The shipment is implemented by the digital signature of customs broker code “H8293”.

Through inspection, the Customs agency detected the shipment as perfume, cosmetics, clothes and bags which were inconsistent with the declaration. The total value of the goods was more than VND1 billion, including payable import amount of nearly VND200 million and VAT of VND122.6 million.

The Investment/Processing Customs Branch invited a representative of the Top Star Vietnam Company to work on the shipment. Zhang Hong Lin, General Director of Top Star Vietnam Company, said he did not know about the shipment and his company did not authorize any customs broker to import this shipment.

Through verification and working with Tran QuangBuu, Director of Melody Logistics Company- customs broker code "H8293 Tran QuangBuu", he said the company did not act as a customs broker for Top Star Vietnam Company.

However, Huynh Thi My Van (born in 1987 in Dak Lak) is a staff member of the Melody Logistics Company who used the company's account and digital signature to declare and transmit the data to conduct import and export procedures at the Investment/Processing Customs Branch for many enterprises, including Top Star Vietnam Company (five declaration forms).

In recent years, the HCMC Customs Department has discovered many cases of taking advantage of loopholes in managing digital signatures of enterprises to smuggle goods.

More than a year ago, the HCMC People's Court opened a trial and sentenced Doan ThiKieuOanh (52 years old, living in District 10) to eight years in prison for smuggling. Oanh was originally the Head of Import-Export Department of MB Vietnam Co., Ltd. (located in Ward 3, TayNinh Town, TayNinh Province) in charge of branches in Ho Chi Minh City. She took advantage of the assignment of management and use of digital signatures and the seal of the Branch of the Company in Ho Chi Minh City to open a declaration of goods worth more than VND6 billion including auto parts, household appliances and electronics. In which, used goods, worth nearly VND5 billion, is on the list of goods banned from import, and goods worth more than VND1 billion is on the list of conditional import goods.

Notably, when discovered by the Customs, Oanh forged the signature of the General Director, using the seal of MB Vietnam Co., Ltd. to make a written declaration, refusing to receive the goods. The General Director of MB Vietnam Company Kang Young Keun affirmed that these goods were not taken to the warehouse of the company, and he did not know the import of this goods and did not know what it was. All transactions and activities related to the import of goods are performed by Doan ThiKieuOanh.

Loopholes from customs agents to import-export enterprises

According to Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, when implementing electronic customs declaration procedures, each enterprise is provided with a customs ID and digital signature to perform access to the system of electronic customs declaration. However, some enterprises have handed out digital signatures and seals to customs declarants without checking and supervising, so they have been taken advantage of by the subjects to conduct acts of smuggling and tradefraud.

In addition to taking advantage of the prestige of enterprises to import smuggled goods, the subjects took advantage digital signatures of some enterprises orused digital signatures of a number of customs agency services companies to declare infringing goods while the enterprise in the name of the import customs declaration does not know anything about the imported goods.

In cases of violations detected by the HCMC Customs Department, the violators have both illegally exploited and used digital signatures of enterprises, and forged customs agents and taken advantage of reputation of businesses that obey the law to commit violations. In fact, a customs clearance worker often makes many businesses, even dozens of businesses, he/she is trusted by businesses to assign digital signature passwords to perform customs clearance for their businesses.

In order to prevent this, Circular No. 22/2019 / TT-BTC of the Ministry of Finance added regulations requiring the import and export goods owners after signing the customs agent contract will notify the customs authority to authorize the agent to declare and carry out customs procedures for their goods. The notification will be made via the electronic customs data processing system, so it will be convenient for both Customs authorities and businesses while protecting shippers' businesses from misuse of information.

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The use of customs agency services is a policy consistent with international practices, the customs agency encourages enterprises to perform import and export operations through customs agents. However, businesses should choose reputable agents, and strictly manage digital signatures, do not sign blank documents for import-export staff to avoid being used by smugglers or abetting smuggling and trade fraud.

Director of the Customs Department of Investment Management Nguyen Xuan Binh said that this unit is managing and carrying out procedures for about 4,000 FDI enterprises. Of these, about 75 percent of businesses use the services of customs clearance agents and customs clearance enterprises to carry out import and export procedures. In recent years, the HCM City Customs Department has detected many cases of violating customs laws, including by FDI enterprises. The violations are all caused by the fact that enterprises have not strictly complied with regulations on management of digital signatures, regulations on agency activities and customs declaration services. Therefore, in order to perform the work in managing, facilitating and protecting the legitimate rights of businesses, recently, the unit has implemented the program "Managing and collecting information on import-export enterprises, customs agents, customs services and customs declarants". This collection of detailed information avoids violations and implements a number of adjusted and supplemented regulations on customs agency activities.

By Le Thu/KieuOanh