KARACHI: The Directorate General of Transit Trade has lodged FIR pertaining to 21 containers of US Army reverse cargo, which were emptied in the country, drivers of 11 vehicles on which these containers were loaded have also been arrested.

DG Transit Trade Khawar Fareed Manika and Director Wajid Ali have advised the investigation team led by Deputy Director Shoib Raza to swiftly complete the investigations and bring the actual culprits to book.

Sources said the arrested drivers including Sarfaraz Khan, Mujahid, Gul Wali, Shah Khalid, Behram Khan, Niamat Wali, Tariq, Maro, Shehzad Gul, Dildar Khan and Bashir Khan would be presented before court on Saturday and their remand would be acquired. The vehicles worth millions of rupees have also been confiscated and would not be returned.

The vehicles include TLK- 710, BLN -1772, K-7839, E-4408, TLA-157, C-1390, TLA-051, P-4121, TLP-361, TLR-235 and TLP-854.

The FIR has nominated Raza ur Rehman S/o Munawar Hussain, Malik Ali Asghar S/o Muhammad Khan, Romail Ahmed Dar S/o Muhammad Nazir Dar, all directors of M/s. Port Connection (Pvt) Ltd., (Bonded Carrier); owners/directors of M/s. Peerzada Service International, Clearing Forwarding & Shipping Agent; owners/directors of M/s Ghani’s International; owners/directors of M/s. Multitrans Logistics (Pvt) Ltd. and above mentioned drivers.

Investigation sources told Customnews.pk that drivers were being investigated and some of them had informed that they were given 3-day leave so that they could visit their families in Peshawar. The vehicles were parked at some yard and private security guards were deployed there.

The authorities are investigating to identify the security company that deployed the guards, sources said that this was very critical and would lead to the actual culprits.

Sources said that it had been established that the bonded carrier used to sell the manifest to other parties. Bonded carrier’s name and manifest of vehicles in his name was being used only. The actual culprits were some others.

It is also being investigated that who made the payments to the drivers of the vehicles as well as the broker who arranged the vehicles.

The CGO-10 says that the bonded carrier, clearing agent and the focal person are the prime responsible for the scam. There is a flaw in the CGO, which protects the actual culprits, an official said.

According to details M/s Ghani’s International, an authorized representative of Consulate General of the United States of America, sought clearance of 22 containers (20-ft) of US Army reverse cargo declared to contain generator power with transformer and equipment for transit to Karachi Port for export to Dubai.

These containers were inspected and seal verification was made at Torkham. It was noted that the scanning images of the consignment and weight slips of the GDs was not as per the description declared in the invoice and packing list. Sources said there also was notable discrepancy between the scanning images of containers taken at Torkham and Karachi Port as well as the weight done at Torkham and Karachi Port.

The containers were examined physically in the presence of representatives of related parties but the generating sets declared in the invoice and packing list were not found in the containers. This established that generating sets were removed from the containers.

Sources said the gate and doors of the container were checked minutely to observe the technique to open doors of the container without tampering the seals and it was observed that nut and bolts of the hooks on which the seals are affixed, had been opened to remove the door with seals remaining unbroken. After pilferage of the cargo from the container the nuts and bolts are again fixed on the door.

Sources said a case has been established of pilferage of goods during transit by the bonded carrier in connivance with the drivers of the vehicle and authorized agents adding that the bonded carrier and the authorized agents have not fulfilled their responsibilities to carry and transit the cargo safe and sound condition, which is their responsibility as per rules and laws.

The carrier of the container from Torkham to Karachi Port is M/s. Port Connection Pvt Ltd., Customs Bonded Carrier. The Consulate General of United States of America had authorized M/s. Multitrans Logistics (Pvt) Ltd. and M/s. Ghani’s International, Customs Clearing Agency to take delivery, handling and clearance of the consignment.

Sources said that the total value of the goods pilfered off the US Army reverse cargo comes at Rs 341.413 million and the duty/taxes involved on the pilfered goods comes at Rs 145.52 million. This is the biggest case of pilferage of US Army transit cargo in terms of the value and volume of the goods.

However, FIR against 21 containers is lodged, while one container was held by ANF on reports about the presence of drugs. ANF and ATT will conduct joint examination of the said containers.