KARACHI: The Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation Peshawar has identified the entire ring involved in pilfering transshipment (TP) consignments inflicting huge loss to the national exchequer.

The authorities have lodged FIRs pertaining to five consignments while four importers have also been arrested and investigations are underway. The FIRs have been lodged against M/s Pak China, M/s Tahir Associates, M/s Moin Enterprises, M/s Afridi & Co and M/s Tariq Enterprises.

It has been found that two persons identified as Wasim and Imran are the mastermind behind the entire scam while SDS bonded carrier is also found to be involved in this game.

Sources said that on DG I&I-Customs Lutfullah Virk’s information, Director Peshawar Asghar Khan, Additional Director Ziaullah Shams, Deputy Director Khayal Mohammad initiated the action which led to arrests and lodging of FIRs.

Moreover, 6 consignments have also been detained on reports that the same had been pilfered. Overall, 65 consignments have been identified that were already cleared. Sources said that these consignments were also pilfered during the transit to the destination ports.

It is pertinent to mention here that large scale smuggling is being carried out under the garb of transshipment consignments. The unscrupulous elements import different goods and mis-declare the description, classification and origin of goods. Then these goods are transshipped to different dry ports.

But, the importers in connivance with bonded carriers, custom agents etc de-stuff the goods from TP containers and then these containers are filled with goods actually declared. These goods generally attract very low rate of duty. It may be mentioned here that TP consignments are not physically examined at the port of arrival. This way different foreign origin goods find their way into the country and a huge loss is inflicted on the national exchequer.

Since the TP consignments are not physically examined at the port of arrival, the Customs authorities have to rely on Goods Declaration and the IGM. Sources said it is expected that there were over 100 consignments fraudulently cleared by the said persons.

It was also known that Preventive officers at the sealing section, did not put the seals on containers instead they gave the seals into the hands of importers. However, the authorities have taken the possession of Form-A, which contains the name of officer issuing the seal and the party to whim the seal was issued and imposed on the containers. Sources said Form-A issued under Transshipment Rules CGO-4 and it would lead to the consignees.

Moreover, Preventive officers at the gate and terminal security personnel let the containers out without the seals, which proves their involvement.

It was known that Lutfullah virk is writing letters to trade officers at Pakistan consulate in Dubai to know the name of persons to which these consignments were delivered in Dubai and what were the goods declared at that time as these consignments mostly come to Pakistan from Dubai. Shipping companies are also being involved in investigations.

An official said it is a mega-scam inflicting loss to the tune of billions of rupees to the exchequer while importers, shipping companies, agents and Customs officials are all involved in this adding that large-scale arrests are expected in a couple of days.