KARACHI: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Peshawar has taken up the multi-billion rupees scam, which the former member customs and former chairman FBR attempted to bury in the pile of files.

NAB Peshawar is investigating the in-famous transshipment cargo (TP) replacement scam wherein thousands of imported containers were pilfered during transit to dry ports. High value and high tariff goods were replaced by low value and low tariff goods causing huge revenue loss to the national exchequer.

Moreover, tons of contrabands also found their way into the country as certain unscrupulous elements and Customs officers/officials had collided in this dirty business.

Director General Intelligence Lutfullah virk in February 2015 forwarded a report to Chairman  Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Tariq Bajwa in which Virk highlighted massive revenue leakage pertaining to transshipment cargo from Karachi to dry port Peshawar.

Lutfullah Virk had assumed a revenue evasion of Rs8.0 billion through the infamous TP replacement case during 2013 and 2014.

He had formed two teams to investigate the case. One team was headed by Imtiaz Ahmed Khan and comprising of Asif Hogon, Naveed Ilahi and Ziaullah Shams. The other team was headed by Shahid Jan.

These two teams identified the replacement of transshipment cargo during transit and over 4,000 containers were identified that had been pilfered during the transit. The high value and high tariff goods were replaced with very low value and low tariff goods during the transit.

Lutfullah Virk, in his report, named Collector Peshawar Dr. Naeem Khan and then Director Intelligence Peshawar Akhlaq nKhattak, one additional collector and 20 other officials who were involved in this organized crime.

NAB sources told Customnews.pk that Lutfullah Virk forwarded his report to Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa in 2015 and Tariq Bajwa accordingly marked the report to then Member Customs Nisar Mohammad Khan for inquiry. However, the case was not pursued.

Lutfullah virk then again forwarded the report to Chairman with a reminder and it was marked to Nisar Mohammad Khan but no action was taken.

Even after Nisar Mohammad Khan became Chairman FBR, he did not initiate any action to recover government’s legitimate revenue or any action was taken against the culprits involved in this multi-billion rupees scam.

NAB sources said that Nisar Mohammad on December 28, 2016, a couple of days ahead of his retirement, formed a committee headed by Nadir Khan Hoti with directives to submit a report in this regard within 14 days.

Sources said bonded carriers including M/s Port Connections, M/s E-Movers and importers were being investigated and several officials are being issued notices,  which include Dr. Naeem Khan presently posted in China, Akhlaq Khattak. Moreover, then Collector Preventive, then Collectors MCC Appraisement East and MCC Port Qasim will also be included in the investigation.

NAB sources said the replacement of TP cargo was still going on and Customs Preventive staff was patronizing the culprits. It was known that staff of Customs Preventive did not affix the seals on the containers instead the seals were given in hand of the importers, which was to be affixed on container after the replacement of cargo. It is known that Preventive staff receives Rs0.2 million as bribe for not affixing seal on TP containers.

Not only the report of Lutfullah Virk would be considered and other aspects would also be taken into account. NAB is also investigating that whether the  accused involved in TP replacement were on bail.

NAB is also coordinating with China Customs and shipping lines to know the details regarding the cargo which was replaced during the transit.