KARACHI: The Customs Adjudication has issued a Show Cause Notice of the focal person of US Consulate and their authorized agents, bonded carriers and others as to why evaded amount of duty/taxes amounting Rs97.188 million may not be recovered and penal action may not be taken against them.
The accused include absconding directors of M/s Port Connection namely Raza-ur-Rehman, Malik Ali Asghar and Romail Ahmed Dar; Shahzad Rasool of M/s Multitrans Logistics; Peerzada Abdul Aleem of M/s Peerzada Services International; Adil Ghani of M/s Ghani’s International; Shahid Ansari of M/s Bilal Associates, Tikka Khan of M/s Adil Goods Transport Co., Irfan Afridi and others.
The accused in connivance with each other illegally removed generators with accessories and power boxes worth Rs131.413 million and causing a revenue loss of Rs60.817 million to the national exchequer.
According to the details of the case, M/s Ghani’s International, an authorized representative of Consulate General of United States of America filed Goods Declaration for a consignment consisting 21 containers of US Army reverse cargo declared to contain generator power with transformer and equipment for transit to Karachi port for export to Dubai.
During perusal and observation of the scanning images and weight, and weight slips of the GDs, the images of instant GD did not appear as per the description declared in the invoice and packing list. Discrepancy was also observed between the scanning images of containers taken at Torkham and Karachi Port as well as the weight done at Torkham and Karachi Port.
Therefore, the consignment was examined physically in the presence of representatives of M/s. Multitrans International (Pvt.) Ltd., and M/s. Peerzada .Services International being the authorized representative of US Consulate General.
During the course of examination, shipper and custom seals were found intact. However, the generating sets declared in the Invoice and Packing List were not found in the containers. There was ample evidence that generating sets were removed from the containers. The photographs taken at the time of examination also confirm the same. Hence, an FIR was lodged and investigations were initiated to explore the hidden aspects concerning to en-route pilferage/illegal removal of goods during transit of goods from Afghanistan to Karachi Port.
It was known during the course of investigation that place of pilferage/illegal removal of Generators was an open yard in the vicinity of Ternol, Rawalpindi.
As far as mode of pilferage is concerned, the interrogation of accused drivers led to the disclosure that the culprits involved in the attempt of pilferage applied the method of tempering the seals affixed on each container under the supervision of mafia involved in the management of such theft of valuable goods from the US military reverse cargo.
Investigation further revealed that after getting the vehicles parked at different places in the locality of Ternol; Rawalpindi by Irfan Afridi, Jannat Gul and Security Guard, all trusted persons of absconding accused Shehzad Rasool & accused Tikka Khan Proprietor of M/s. Adil Goods Transport Company, Karachi were advised for rest at nearby places of their choice.
The disclosures made by the accused drivers invariably confirm that the above named person with the collusion of other associates pilfered/illegally removed US Military Reverse cargo. It has further been transpired that accused Tikka Khan was also present at the place of pilferage but reportedly he opted to remain in a car driven by said Irfan Afridi.
This situation clearly means that accused Tikka Khan (Transporter) & absconding accused Shahzad Rasool (Contractor) were personally monitoring the movement of vehicles as well as process of the pilferage from the containers.
Under the instructions of Shehzad Rasool, Director of M/s. Multitrans Logistics (Pvt.) Limited, Karachi, Security Guards hired by Tikka Khan (Transporter) were deployed on each vehicle who used to get completed all required formalities at every check post of NLC or other agencies.
It has further come on record that absconding accused Shehzad Rasool had personally monitored the transportation of consignment in question right from Torkham to Karachi Port and that he was supervising the task of pilferage of Generators at Ternol, Rawalpindi. It has been reported by the sources that accused Shehzad Rasool has fled from Pakistan and reportedly is based at Dubai.
According to a letter purportedly issued by the Department of Defense, Unites State Force — Afghanistan shows that M/s Transfair North America International Freight Services was mainly responsible for the transportation of the consignment, whereas, M/s. Multitrans Logistics was to act as their subcontractor.
On the other hand, two letters apparently issued by the Consulate General of the United States of America, Karachi that they recommended for issuance of Transit Authorization Permits (TAP) in favor of M/s. Multitrans Logistics (Pvt.) Ltd, M/s. Ports Connection (Pvt.) Ltd.
The perusal of Commercial Invoice issued by US Army to Berger/Cummins JV confirms that Generators, Power Boxes of given specification were loaded into the consignment for onward dispatch to its final destination in transit at Karachi Port.
It is strongly presumed that absconding accused Shahzad Rasool of M/s Multitrans Logistics is the main conspirator who managed theft of generators/other equipment and on the other hand attempted to obtain huge amount as insurance claim with the connivance of associates.
On the basis of investigative efforts, following interference are drawn for record and information of the Court;
Absconding accused Shehzad Rasool is the mastermind for the pilferage of US Military Generators who along with his accomplices Shahid Ansari, Tikka Khan, Bilal Ansari, Raza ur Rehman, Irfan Afridi and other accused committed the crime of pilfering the reverse transit cargo of US Army and depriving national exchequer of its legitimate revenue by illegally removing the goods in Pakistan.
The offence of committing pilferage and depriving national exchequer from its legitimate revenue is racket oriented headed by absconding accused Shehzad Rasool and other accused as members of the syndicate.
M/s. Bilal Associates, Karachi played vital role in the commission of the crime by preparing the requisite documentation inclusive filing of Carrier Manifest meant for the transportation of consignment.
M/s Port Connections (Pvt.) Limited being Bonded Carrier with the active connivance of M/s Bilal Associates paved way for the commission of offence.
Accused Tikka Khan, Proprietor of M/s. Adil Goods Transport Company has played his assigned role as Transporter in the commission of offence and colluded with the bonded carrier for the accomplishment of desired aims and objectives as set out by absconding Shahzad Rasool.
The Proprietor of M/s. Ghani’s International, Peshawar Absconding are the actual actors involved actively in this huge case of pilferage;
The Bonded Carrier M/s. Port Connection (Pvt.) Limited, failed to discharge their mandatory obligations with regard to safe transportation of bonded cargo;
Absconding accused Shehzad Rasool has deep rooted connections with the owner of M/s. Bilal Associates;
The owner of M/s. Bilal Associates namely Shahid Ansari played an active role in the commission of the crime.
Accused Suhail Dawood has knowingly and willfully made false statement with regard to his designation in Bilal Associates;
Accused Suhail Dawood is well conversant with the affairs which have been dealt with by M/s. Bilal Associates and played an active role in the commission of the offence;
It is established that accused Tikka Khan was in league with absconding accused Shehzad Rasool and was monitoring the movement of carrying vehicles right from its origin to venue of pilferage and finally to Karachi Port, therefore, willful involvement of above named accused in the commission of offence is established.
From the foregoing facts and circumstances of the case it is established that M/s. Port Connection (Pvt.) Limited being Bonded Carrier were primarily under legal obligation for effecting safe transportation of US Military Cargo from Afghanistan to the Port of Loading i.e. Pakistan International Container Terminal, East Wharf, Karachi.
It is further matter of rules & regulations that the Bonded Carrier stands responsible for all damages, pilferage, theft etc, en-route Afghanistan to Port of Loading, hence, payment of involved custom duty & taxes is to be paid by M/s. Port Connection (Pvt.) Limited, Karachi and other accused persons nominated in this Final Challan.
The facts of the case reveal that they have not only deliberately avoided to inform customs authorities about pilferage either at customs check posts en-route or at Karachi Port but also themselves played an active role in the crime.
This contention of prosecution lends support from the fact that the Directors of Bonded Carrier were deeply connected with the commission of crime, as such, they have gone in their hideouts to avoid their probable arrest in this case and so far not turned up with any substantial and concrete defense.
It is interesting to note that despite established fact regarding involvement of US consulates representative agents in the pilferage of US Army cargo and lodging of FIRs against the, the US authorities do not remove such unscrupulous persons as their agents.