KARACHI: Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation – Enforcement has foiled a bid to smuggle huge quantity of foreign origin smart phones of assorted brands from Air Freight Unit, Karachi.

On the information of Director I&I (Enforcement), Samina Wajid, a special team headed by the Deputy Director Mohammad Haroon Malik was constituted to mount surveillance at the AFU, Karachi.

Consequently, two Suzuki vans bearing Registration NOs. KH-9472 and KP- 0677, loaded with 32 cartons, were identified and intercepted in front of Gerry’s Dnata Shed of Air Freight Unit. JIAP, Karachi.

On search, 1200 pieces of foreign origin mobile phones of assorted brands were recovered from one carton while remaining cartons were found to contain Toyota genuine auto/body parts of vehicles. On preliminary inquiry, the drivers of the van failed to produce any legal document in respect of aforesaid mobile phones.

On further interrogation, it transpired that the consignment of auto parts in question was imported in the name of Ms. Al-Amna Trading Company Saddar, Karachi from Dubai.

The carton containing mobiles phones was concealed within the cartons of auto parts and was delivered along with them. The scrutiny of GD revealed no declaration regarding import of mobile phones. The estimated value of recovered/seized mobile phones comes to Rs48 million (approx). Further investigation in the matter is under progress.

Sources said it was being ascertained whether the custodian Gerry’s Dnata were involved/aware of this attempt to remove the mobile phones from the shed.

It may be mentioned here that these terminals have been found involved in several cases earlier. Some 182 containers went missing from QICT, which is not possible without the involvement of the terminal/custodian. Similarly, imported goods were removed and replaced with low-value goods at different terminals. Cases were made wherein it was known that imported goods particularly auto parts were removed from the containers at Pak Shaheen Container Terminal.

There is no check on the conduct of these terminals/custodians as there is no proper regulatory authority due to which these terminals have been involved in several questionable and often a times fraudulent activities.

An official informed that these private container and import cargo terminals at sea port as well as airport were violating several regulations and even refuse to abide by the legal orders of the Customs authorities.

Customs has the authority to waive demurrages and in cases a Customs Officers writes in official capacity issues directives to these terminals that the demurrages should be waived, but these terminals refuse to obey these orders and collect the amount from importers.

There is an urgent need to establish a proper check and balance mechanism to monitor the conduct of private container and import/export cargo terminals so that revenue leakage because of their connivance could be saved.

Sources said an FIR in the case of mobile phones mentioned above would be lodged on Saturday.

Meanwhile Collector Preventive Saifuddin Junejo Additional Collector Nadeem Memon, Deputy Collectors Yusuf Magsi and Naveed Memon visited Gerry’s Dnata shed at airport and conducted inspection of goods to ascertain if more goods had gone missing or undeclared goods were there.