KARACHI: The investigations into the case of import and clearance of banned pharmaceutical chemicals have revealed serious irregularities on the part of Customs assessing officers.

It has been known that it is a mandatory requirement that any consignment of chemicals needs to be tested by Custom House laboratory, but a large number of consignments related to this scam were cleared without the laboratory test while in several instances the Laboratory did not furnish the actual reports.

Moreover, the submission of relevant literature regarding the imported chemicals is also a mandatory requirement. The literature is perused at length to identify the actual composition of the chemical. However, the literature was not provided in many cases and even then the goods were cleared.

The entire ordeal creates several questions on the performance and honesty of assessing staff including appraiser, principal appraiser and assistant collector.

Sources said that this was such a big loophole in the system and it is not clear what type of chemical could have been cleared. Sources also suspect that there was likelihood that Acetic anhydride, chemical used to form narcotics, could have also been cleared as there was no check and authentic laboratory testing.

Sources said that the chemical examiners who were suspended in this case should be included in the investigation and their lifestyle including bank accounts should also be analyzed whether they matched with their salaries.

In order to strengthen the prosecution, it needs to be found that wherever the imported consignments were consumed as well as the details regarding importers who booked the orders and made the payments to foreign suppliers.

Meanwhile, the Customs Court has extended the remand of Mohmmad Ali Chandna for another three days till March 19, 2015. Chandna is the prime suspect in high profile case pertaining to the import and fraudulent clearance of pharmaceutical chemical, which is otherwise banned as per the Import Policy Order.

Chandna of M/s Pure Enterprises was importing Pharmaceutical raw material with the vague description of “SDO” & “Preservative ACJC” from China at the lowest declared value of $ 0.30/kg.

It was known the impugned pharmaceutical material is in fact consisting of Paracetamol and Aspirin which being costly items. The declared / assessed value should have not less than $4/kg & $6/kg respectively. Further, the import of these goods is restricted in accordance with the provisions of Drugs (Import & Export), Rules, 1976 and Import Policy Order 2013-14.

As the scam was detected, R&D East lodged an FIR against the accused and later arrested him.