Tamrakar House, located in New Road, is the largest mobile hub in Nepal. The majority of the shops in the complex are mobile stores. Varieties of brands are available in different shops, and it is also prominent for the maintenance of the devices. But the criticism it faced after the Sting Operation done by Avenues Khabar reveals their illegal ways of importing mobile devices in Nepal. Along with the Sting Operation, Nepal Police also performed raids in different shops of Tamrakar House.
Sting Operation from Avenues Khabar
The team from Avenues Khabar went to the different shops disguising themselves as customers. They asked about the device details and the way of import. Surprisingly, the shopkeepers were frank about their illegal ways of importing the device, captured in the videos by the Avenues Khabar. Later, when the team confessed their reality, the shopkeepers tried their best to recant, but it was all in vain. As Nepal Police was also present while conversing about their illegal importing methods, there was no escape for them.
The team performed Sting operations on more than 20 shops, including shop numbers 4, 13, 24, and 33. They have their devices seized by the Nepal Police after they could not show the VAT Bill and purchase bill. A total of 144 smartphones from the brands Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme, and others, 43 iPhone, and 8 shopkeepers were under the Nepal Police arrest.
They are selling the same mobile devices at two prices according to their way of import. For example, the iPhone 12 Pro Max price is NPR 2,150,000 if it is legally imported; otherwise, the price is 1,850,000. And they were trying to sell the cheaper variant as the commission is high for those devices. They get only 5-10% commission if the phone is legally imported, while for the illegally imported device, they get more than 30% commission. They also do not provide a warranty for unlawfully imported smartphones.
Such illegal acts have highly affected those who are doing the business in a legal way following the Government’s rules. Apart from Tamrakar House, other mobile hubs are doing the same activities and are still not disguised by the Department of Revenue Investigation.
Other Data and Information
In Nepal, yearly, more than 43 lakhs of phones worth more than 24 crores are imported. According to the Department of Customs’s 2076/2077 data, 43,66,000 phones worth Rs. 18,17,75,53,000 are imported. Until Magh, 43,68,000 mobile sets were imported worth Rs.68,00,00,000. As per the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, three crores eighty-five lakhs fifty-seven thousand five hundred and sixty-three GSM users are registered.
As per the interview given to the Avenues, Suman Dahal- Director General of Department of Customs, the compulsory IMEI Registration process is undergoing, which will play a vital role in stopping such heinous acts of importing smartphones. Also, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has been developing a Device Management System for two years.
Avenues Khabar also expresses disappointment towards the Department of Commerce, Supplies, and Consumer Protection for not investigating well and taking action against such illegal acts.
Such operations positively help the Government; however, the responsible department should do this often. Also, the customers should ask for the VAT bill while purchasing the new device. Finally, the illegal ways of importing will eventually harm your business and reputation. Hence, the best way of doing business is none other than the legal way.