KARACHI: MCC Export – Port Muhammad Bin Qasim (EPZ), Karachi has booked a cartel of importers for illegally overriding One Customs Computerized System and Customs documents to defraud the exchequer.

According to details, credible information was received that some unscrupulous importers of EPZ, with the help of various investors and customs house agents, were importing goods to the tariff area by fraudulently reducing assessed duty / taxes at the time of issuance of cash number and then depositing short / less amount than in the National Bank, thus evading duty/taxes,

Accordingly, Collector Agha Shahid Majeed constituted a team comprising Deputy Collector Sheeraz Ahmed, Assistant Collector Waqar Hussain, one Principal Appraiser and a Appraising Officer. More than 300 out of charged GDs were randomly scrutinized pertaining to last two years to detect short-payment, if any, by comparing duty / taxes figures on the GD with the payment figures as per One-Customs module data.

As many as 113 such GDs were detected showing total short-payment of duty / taxes amounting to 3.68 million.

The figures of tax payment and short payment were further verified from the record of AFU Cash Section and the Bank payments Reconciliation Ledger, which confirmed fraudulent tempering with assessment figures in One-Customs module and resultant short payment of duty / taxes in the National Bank.

The modus operandi was such that after assessment of GD by the assessing officer, the duty / taxes figures were reduced by using overriding facility through the user ID of the AFU Cash Section Appraiser who was authorized to issue Cash numbers in respect of assessed GDs.

In this manner, through illegal overriding, the assessed tax figures were reduced in the One-Customs module and resultantly, bank collected reduced amount of duty / taxes. The accused importer & clearing agent then tempered with the written duty / taxes figures on the GD and enhanced said figures by adding extra digits, for instance in GD No. 8363 dated 28.05.2013, after payment of Rs 20,817 in the bank, digit “1″ was added on the left side so that the number became “120,817″ thus fraudulently evading Rs. 100,000 in said GD.

Said tempering with the duty / taxes figures was found on 113 GDs. In this manner, the accused importers & clearing agents robbed the government of legitimate duty / taxes by conniving with or hoodwinking the customs and bank officials. The accused, thus committed tax fraud by tempering with the One Customs Computerized System and the GDs, thereby casing loss to the Government to the tune of Rs 3.68 million.

Further investigations are in progress, while the Customs authorities would also be investigating the affairs of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to ascertain whether some black sheep in the banking system were also involved. It is anticipated that the scam would found to be much larger.