KARACHI: M/s Chaudry Sugar Mills has approached Appellate Tribunal appealing against the order of Collector Customs Adjudication, which charged the sugar mill for making fake export GDs and making paper export of 5420 MT of sugar to Afghanistan.

The above mentioned 5420 MT of sugar, which supposedly had been exported to Afghanistan, was later recovered from a warehouse in Peshawar.

FIR was lodged against M/s Chaudry Sugar Mills for their involvement in the sugar export subsidy scam. They evaded duty/taxes and fraudulently availed huge amount of export subsidy in respect of fake exports of sugar to Afghanistan.

According to details, Assistant Collector Custom Station Torkham on receipt of information about export subsidy fraud case, constituted an audit team. The audit team retrieved data from PRAL pertaining to the export of Sugar for cross verification of the exports with manual record maintained by the Customs staff at Torkham.

The team upon scrutiny found that Goods Declaration (GDs) were available in the manual record but found tampered with in the system. It was noted in the FIR that the exporters got the data tampered in PRAL system with the connivance of PRAL staff.

The fraud aimed at availing huge amount of subsidy of inland freight of Rs2.0 per Kilogram and cash subsidy on export of Sugar at the rate of Rs8.0 per kilogram allowed on export of Sugar as per decision by Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC), the FIR said.

It is interesting to note that despite being nominated in the FIR, none from the M/s Chaudry Sugar Mills joined the investigations.

Subsequently, Customs Adjudication ordered confiscation of  sugar recovered from the warehouse and its sale proceed if already auctioned. Adjudication ordered recovery of 15 percent advance payment if not already forfeited received on account of their respective share in sugar not actually and factually exported to Afghanistan.

Customs Adjudication ordered the concerned authority to refund the amount of FED if paid on account of sugar neither actually exported to Afghanistan nor sold in the local market.

Adjudication ordered Chaudry Sugar Mills to pay if not already paid EDS at 0.25 percent and WHT at 1.0 percent of the export proceeds received on account of sugar recovered from the warehouse.

M/s Chaudry Sugar Mills has filed the appeal before the Appellate Tribunal challenging Adjudication order to the extent of confiscation of sugar recovered from warehouse and recovery of EDS, WHT of export proceeds received from Afghanistan.

Sources said M/s Chaudry Sugar Mill was twisting the facts to cover up their wrongdoings. Sources said at the time of alleged fraud, sugar prices were on higher side in Pakistan and the accused planned to multiply their profits by claiming export subsidy, evade FED and selling sugar in local market at higher rates.

There is another issue in the entire ordeal that the recovered sugar from the warehouse has been auctioned by the Customs. And if the Tribunal orders refund of the export proceeds, it would mean the Customs authorities had done wrong. Therefore, Customs is making the prosecution strong for the purpose of justice.

Meanwhile, MCC Peshawar has also filed an appeal against the order of Customs Adjudication because the sugar mills were exonerated of fraud charges.