Customs Intelligence officials seized a Porsche Cayenne 955, a luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV) estimated to be worth Tk4 crore, from Hatirjheel area in Dhaka on Monday morning, abandoned by its owner.
They also found its keys and a note from the owner addressing the CIID director general inside the vehicle, said HM Shariful Hasan, deputy director of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID).
The CIID posted the note's photo on its Facebook page on Monday.
The note said the owner had abandoned the car because it had been imported into the country without paying taxes.
The owner also requested the CIID not to go after him or her – who claimed to be well-known and respected figure – as it would tarnish the person’s reputation.
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The note said the owner had been using the car for several years but was now abandoning it to save face and as repentance.
The owner also appreciated the CIID's crackdown on illegally imported luxury cars in the note.
CIID Director General Dr Moinul Khan said people who owned tax-dodging luxury cars had been unable to use them since their crackdown began.
“Both foreign expatriates and locals are now handing their vehicles over to us. We believe that they have realised that evading taxes is a crime, and we appreciate it,” he said.
“The Porsche owner, who has yet to be identified, left the car voluntarily when the person realised that it would not bring him or her any good,” he added.
According to another post on the CIID Facebook page, the SUV was imported in 2010 by an English expatriate through the “Carnet de Passages en Douane” system, which allows foreigners to import their vehicles for a short period without paying taxes.
The post also said the CIID officials had received information from an unknown person that the car would be left on Madhubagh connecting bridge in Hatirjheel.
CIID Deputy Director Shariful said they would take legal actions after examining the car's documents.
The CIID has been investigating illegally imported vehicles around the country and seized some 57 luxury cars in the last two years whose taxes have not been paid, which have fake Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) registration, or have been purchased without following proper procedure.
The luxury cars, which include BMWs, Mercedes-Benz, Range Rovers, Porsches, Land Rovers, Audis, Rolls Royces, Lexus, Volkswagen, Jaguar, were mostly brought in by high-ranking foreign employees of international organisations, NGOs and embassies, according to CIID sources.
They also said the CIID was looking into around 600 luxury cars that have been imported by foreign workers either using Carnet de Passages facility or under the Privileged Persons (Customs Procedure) Rules 2003.
Most of these cars were supposed to be re-exported after the end of the tenure as mentioned at the time of their import.
“The foreigners who come to the country to work have to pay tax and seek permission from the authorities to use their cars. Many of them evade the tax and leave the country without informing the authorities and the taxes remain unpaid,” CIID chief Moinul told the Dhaka Tribune.
“The cars were mostly imported by privileged foreigners and Bangladeshi-born dual citizens. The government will earn Tk1,000 crore at minimum in revenue if these cars are seized,” a CIID official anonymously told the Dhaka Tribune.
Bangladesh authorities imposed taxes on vehicles imported on a temporary basis by foreign tourists or workers in 2013.
Before 2013, the authorities used to waive the taxes for foreign nationals, but later decided to impose the tax as the country never ratified the UN Customs Convention on the Temporary Importation of Private Road Vehicles, which allows international tourists to enjoy such exemption.