Serious irregularities prevail at Pakistan Customs; container terminals found involved in frauds

KARACHI: Al-Hamd Container Terminal has become the base of operations for unscrupulous elements as now smuggling/clandestine clearance of auto parts, mobile phones and liquor is being carried out through the container terminal and with the connivance of terminal staff.

MCC Appraisement West recently lodged FIRs against certain importers and officials of Al-Hamd International Container Terminal (AICT) for conniving with each other to clear mobile phones, tablet PCs and batteries through mis-declaration in the bills of lading.

The GD was blocked by Deputy Collector Imran Rasool on the directives of then Collector Appraisement West Shahnaz Maqbool, however Chief Collector Abdul Rasheed Sheikh got it unblocked. But Shahnaz Maqbool made this case without the knowledge of the Chief Collector.

Resultantly, Shahnaz Maqbool was transferred on the recommendations of the chief collector as according to sources Abdul Rasheed Sheikh had been exposed before the collectors.

For the last two and half year, Abdul Rasheed Sheikh had stopped examination of betel nut. He also had stopped examination of consignments and barred officials from calling documents in the name of trade facilitation. Sources said that whenever any officer/official detected mis-declaration/fraud, he/she was transferred. Sources said that Abdul Rasheed Sheikh got the unscrupulous importers to file complaint against the detecting official and on the basis of these complaints, the officials were transferred without giving the officials opportunity of hearing.

The recent transfers and postings of appraising officers would weaken the detection ability of Customs as competent officials have been transferred. An official said all transfers and postings in Pakistan Customs are being done on the recommendation of Chief Collector Appraisement South.

Chief Collector had been continuously interfering in the affairs of collectorates in Appraisement South and he had gripped the entire south region that even collectors were helpless.

Similarly, Chief Collector advised Collector Appraisement West to shut the IDs of Port Control Unit to allegedly facilitate unscrupulous elements. Sources said that Port Control Unit is the eye of customs on the port, which Abdul Rasheed Sheikh closed in the name of trade facilitation.

Most importantly, he was exposed as he supported and facilitated his brother’s wrong doings. No action was taken against Mansoor Sheikh of M/s E-Movers despite it had been established that M/s E-Movers was involved in replacement of transshipment cargo and other fiscal frauds. It may be mentioned here that a large number of officials were transferred who ever tried to correct the GD of Mansoor Sheikh, brother of Abdul Rasheed Sheikh.

A former advisor of PML-N government is said to be behind the entire game and causing loss of billions to the national economy. Sources said senior officers such as Abdul Rasheed Sheikh and Director General Customs Intelligence & Investigation Shaukat Ali are patronizing smuggling, mis-declaration and duty-tax evasion supported by the said advisor.

Shaukat Ali is allegedly patronizing organized smuggling and he is also pursuing the policy of transferring officers and officials raising voice against the wrongdoings. Director Customs Intelligence Quetta Irfan Javed was transferred recently as he was taking action against the smuggling. Quetta is a very sensitive station as it is the gateway of smuggled goods’ movement from Afghanistan. Similarly, Tahir Qureshi, AShraf Ali, Inamullah Wazir etc were transferred for taking action against organized smuggling.

Similarly, Ashraf Ali, irfan ur Rehman, Feroz Alam Junejo, Zulfiqar Yunus, Suleiman Yaqoob, Shafiq ur Rehman, Mustafa etc. were removed from their posts as they tried to implement anti-smuggling policy.
It is interesting to note that around 60% offices in Directorate General of Intelligence & Investigation are vacant and postings are not made to weaken vigilance.

Sources said Director General Shaukat Ali had weakened the directorates of Customs Intelligence and Investigation so that no concentrated and coordinated campaign could be initiated against the smuggling. Sources said a close relative of Maryam Nawaz is supporting Director General I&I Shaukat Ali.

Container terminals have collided with the unscrupulous elements and leak information regarding Custom’s movement to such elements so as to protect these elements.

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