KARACHI: The MCC Appraisement East has submitted interim ‘challan’ before the Special Customs Court in respect of 13 FIRs lodged against M/s AMI Pakistan and several other importers in the switch bill of lading scam.
Based on the investigation with Arif Humayun Ex CEO of M/s AMI Pakistan, and Noman Rauf Manager Import of M/s AMI Pakistan and scrutiny of record, MCC Appraisement East in the interim challan establishes involvement of M/s AMI Middle East, M/s AMI Pakistan and several importers, clearing agents and employees of M/s AMI Pakistan in the scam. Sharjeel Jamal s/o Jamaluddin is found to be the mastermind of the entire scheme.
According to the modus operandi as reported by MCC Appraisement East, when a container of Indian fabric was ready for export to Pakistan, the clearing agent of UAE used to report the particulars of the container to M/s AMI Middle East, UAE with the name of person in whose account the container was intended to export i.e Sharjeel Jamal or Shahrukh Jamal.
M/s AMI Middle East used to e-mails to his counterpart in M/s AMI Pakistan normally accused Noman regarding confirmation. After confirmation, the container was shipped through Hyundai Line the vessel of which was arriving from Ningbo, a port of China to justify their planned game to show port of loading as Ningbo against a bill of lading issued by the Hyundai Line, called master bill of lading showing port of loading Dubi, UAE, shipper M/s AMI Middle East LLC, Dubai and consignee/importer as M/s AMI Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, Karachi.
Meanwhile M/s AMI Middle East through e-mail used to ask M/s AMI Pakistan to provide particulars for issuance of a House bill of lading. The AMI Pakistan used to call a copy of ED (Export Declaration at UAE) to verify the number of packages, description and weight etc and then provided requisite information to show the name of shipper as M/s Ziang Niong Corporation, Ningbo, China permanently in all cases and the name of importer as Sharjeel or Shahrukh Jamal.
On the basis of information provided to them M/s AMI Middle East did issue the House bill of lading showing shipper M/s Ziang Niong Corporation, Ningbo, China, name of importer as supplied, port of loading as Jebel Ali with prefixes of the bill of lading as JEAKHI with the date of issue prior a day or two as compare to date of shipped on board indicated in Master bill of lading issued by Hyundai Line.
On arrival of the time of filling of IGM M/s United Marine Agencies (Pvt) Ltd, the agent of Hyundai Line used to ask M/s AMI Pakistan to request in writing if the company desired to file IGM at their own in violation of provisions of Law that requires them being agent of the carrier to file IGM. M/s AMI Pakistan requested them to allow filling of IGM at their own. M/s AMI Pakistan misusing a user ID obtained from Customs to file IGM as an agent of a shipping line M/s Indus Container Line, which had no nexus with the impugned import, filed IGM of the container showing load port as Ningbo, China and showing bill of lading having prefix as NGBKHI, maintaining the number of bill of lading having prefix JEAKHI issued by M/s AMI Middle East and also showing much earlier date of issuance of the bill of lading when the vessel was at Ningbo port to avoid any track. Astonishingly the altered bill of lading was generated and IGM of FCL containers, which in this case were, filed through accused Noman of M/s AMI Pakistan.
The copy of this engineered bill of lading was supplied with the delivery order to client enabling him to obtain delivery from the container terminal. On the other hand GD was filed before the Customs at Karachi showing origin of goods China accompanied with invoice and packing list etc also showing the same origin.
The investigation into the matter further transpired that Sharjeel and Shahrukh were clients of the accused Noman as mentioned on documents of the company and accused Noman was also receiving a significant amount from the company as incentive according to the policy besides that he got promotion to Manager from Deputy Manager for good sales and services rendered for the company.
Accused Arif Humayon ex CEO of M/s AMI Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd flatly negated that he was aware of this arranged game of switching bills of lading. He stated that office working was based mainly on e-mails and all communication was done in this way either with M/s AMI Middle East or internally between the staff and officers.
However, this statement of the accused Arif Humayun is not believable in view of investigation carried in the matter. In fact he served the Marine Group, a parent group of M/s AMI Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd beside various other companies, from 1995 to 2015 i.e 20 years in various posts and finally was promoted to the post of Chief Executive Officer of M/s AMI Pakistan Pvt Ltd. This is the highest post for an employee having hiring or firing pdwers, practically in charge of day to day business, making policies and to supervise the performance of functionaries under his command. He was in charge of the Import Section from 2011 to November 2015 either in the capacity of General Manager or CEO.
According to investigation conducted so far this crime of switching bills of lading started during his tenure of command. It transpired during investigation that after having knowledge of interception of a case by MCC Appraisement West, he approached Customs Intelligence and reported the matter to reduce his own burden.
Investigation conducted so far reflects accused Sharjeel Jamal as key player, mastermind and engineer of this game as initially this facility was provided to him by M/s AMI Pakistan which was later on extended to his brother and other persons.
All the consignments pertaining to the 13 FIRs pertains either to Sharjeel Jamal or his brother Shahrukh Jamal. Furthermore payment of charges of M/s AMI Pakistan was made through cheques issued from the accounts maintained by Shah Rukh beside delivery of the cargo was obtained through M.s S.S.J Brothers where he is a partner.
Other importers who are facing charges include M/s A.J Knitting, M/s Attire Fabrics, M/s Brilliant Corporation, M/s Jacquard International, M/s Goodwill Traders, M/s R.J Textile, M/s Multitrends International, M/s NAI & Company, M/s N.P corporation, M/s R.J corporation, M/s Russhco, M/s Sturm Fashion company and M/s UHL Company.
It may be mentioned here that following these developments Collectors of MCC Appraisement West Dr. Agha Jawwad and MCC Appraisement East Majid Yousafani have been transferred. The investigation officers of the case including Ashfaq ur Rehman, Shahid Ibrahim Dasti, Zulfiqar Zaman and Javed Khalid are also uncertain about their postings.