The Evolution of Penalties: From Criminalization to Taxation
Previously, the customs law penalized dealing with materials and goods imported under the temporary admission system for purposes other than their original importation. However, this changed with Article (98) of Law 66 of 1963, later superseded by Law No. 157 of 2002. The legislative update eliminated the criminal penalties, and instead required importers to pay the applicable taxes, fees and additional tax.
Herein we refer to a case where the Public Prosecution accused (S) & (S) of smuggling goods documented in the papers and using them for purposes other than what they were imported for. These goods, released under the temporary admission system intended for manufacturing and re-export, were misused, and the prosecution sought their punishment.
The Misdemeanor Court for Financial and Commercial Affairs ruled in presence to imprison the two accused and fine each of them 1000 Egyptian pounds. They were also jointly obligated to pay a certain amount, along with an equal amount for customs taxes and sales tax, including the seizure of the confiscated items.
The convicted individual appealed this judgment before the Appellate Court, which accepted the appeal formally and substantively upheld the appealed judgment.
Subsequently, the convicted party submitted an appeal to the Criminal Court within the Appellate Court (Cassation of Misdemeanors). The court acknowledged the procedural validity of the appeal but dismissed it on the merits.
The convicted parties submitted a request to the General Prosecutor’s advisor, seeking to present their case to the Court of Cassation. This was to overturn the judgment issued by the Misdemeanor Cassation Court, arguing that it contradicted the established principles of the Court of Cassation’s jurisprudence.
Upon examination, the Court of Cassation ruled to void the previous judgment and mandated a retrial on the ground that Article 98 of the Customs Law, as amended, had eliminated the criminalization of importing goods under the temporary admission system for purposes other than those stated. Instead, it was replaced by a requirement for the importer to pay the due taxes and duties on the imported goods, along with an additional tax.
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