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Customs Law amendments to allow for destruction of dangerous illegal imports

By JT - Nov 12,2015 - Last updated at Nov 12,2015

AMMAN — The Cabinet has issued directives to Finance Minister Omar Malhas to amend the Customs Law, allowing the confiscation or destruction — under an administrative decision — of illegally imported goods that endanger public safety, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported Wednesday.

Seven people died in a fire that erupted at one of the Amman Customs Department’s yards on October 26 after two firework containers exploded. All the victims were workers at the yard from Jordan and Egypt.

Civil Defence Department (CDD) Media Director Brig. Gen. Farid Sharaa said at the time that more than 40 fire engines, ambulances and rescue vehicles, and 150 individuals from the CDD, the customs department and the police took part in the five-hour operation to extinguish the blaze and transport the dead and injured to nearby hospitals.

After the incident, Jordan Customs Department director general Munther Assaf was referred to retirement under a Cabinet decision.

In a briefing to the Lower House Economy and Investment Committee on Monday, Amman Customs Department Director Col. Odeh Qteishat said the containers were moved from Aqaba to Amman after the Aqaba Container Terminal closed the yards allocated for storing dangerous items.

But a government official told The Jordan Times previously that the containers were seized by customs officers several weeks ago and were stored at the yards before being re-exported to Nigeria.

The government banned the import of fireworks in 2009, except for those brought into the country by public agencies for national festivities.

 

Until the law is amended, the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army’s Royal Engineering Corps will be responsible for destroying firework containers confiscated by customs personnel, according to Petra.

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