The Chattogram Customs House on Thursday withdrew its suspension on a clearing and forwarding agent following demonstrations by C&F agents.
It is alleged that revenue officer Nizam Uddin on Wednesday demanded a bribe of Tk60,000 from Prime Clearing House.
Rafiqul Islam, owner of the C&F agent, got involved in an altercation with the officer, questioning him why he had to pay him a bribe even though everything was in order.
But the Customs House immediately suspended the licence of the company, bringing an allegation of misconduct against its owner.
The Chattogram Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association staged a demonstration in front of the Customs House on Thursday to protest what it said the unjust suspension of the licence.
Kazi Mahmud Imam Bilu, the first joint general secretary of the C&F agents association, said the programme was called off at around 4.30pm upon an assurance of an acceptance of the agents' six-point demand, which includes revoking the suspension of the licence of Prime Clearing House.
Sultan Mahmud, deputy commissioner of Chattogram Customs House, told The Business Standard the suspension of the licence had been withdrawn considering the revenue of the government.
"If the allegations made against the C&F agent are proved after further investigation, action will be taken as per customs law," he added.
Around 7,000 bills of entry are submitted to the Chattogram Customs House every day, with the daily collection coming to Tk120-150 crore.
Sultan Mahmud said the day's work would be completed by working overtime as work had remained stopped till Thursday afternoon.
There have been long-standing allegations that customs officials at the Chattogram Customs House do not release files without bribes. In fact, proof about such behaviour has been found at different times. There are allegations that various importers and C&F agents are also involved in evading duties in collusion with some dishonest officials.
Rafiqul Islam, proprietor of Prime Clearing House, told TBS, "Revenue officer Nazim Uddin demanded a bribe of Tk60,000 from me on Wednesday for an unloading of carters (carter machines) imported from China. As I did not agree to pay the bribe, he kept my file stuck on various excuses. Not getting the bribe he demanded, he misled senior officials about me and immediately had my company's licence suspended."
Revenue officer Nizam Uddin denied allegations that he had demanded the bribe and said Rafiqul wanted some unethical duty advantage.
"He was about to hit me for not accepting his offer. I have informed the higher authorities of the matter in writing," he added.
Chattogram Customs House Commissioner Mohammad Fakhrul Alam said allegations of a bribe demanded by the customs official were not true.
"No such written complaint was made to me by the C&F agent. If a complaint had been filed, the matter would have been investigated," he added.
There are also allegations that C&F agents insult customs officials if they do not do as wanted by them.
On November 2 last year, C&F agent owners and workers staged a three-hour strike.
Tarun Barua, an employee of C&F agent Homebound Packers and Shippers, physically assaulted revenue officer Saiful Islam during the taxation process of a vehicle imported from Japan by the Algerian embassy in Dhaka.
But the C&F agent misled the leaders of the association about the incident.
On 17 January 2017, C&F agents stormed and vandalised the office of Abu Hanif Mohammad Ahad, the then Assistant Commissioner of Customs House Jetty Examination, at the port. Later, they blockaded the office of the assistant commissioner for two hours.
In the first 11 months of the current financial year, 42 licences have been suspended and three revoked as part of a move against dishonest C&F agents as a measure towards preventing counterfeiting and tax evasion.