KARACHI: MCC Preventive has seized 13 containers of betel nut from different warehouses worth Rs1.0 billion approximately, these containers had been cleared from the MTO of MCC Port Qasim.
M/s Al-Waheed Impex imported a consignment declared to be paper scrap and filed a GD on self-basis. Deputy Collector Hamid Qambrani posted at MTO Port Qasim and Appraising Officer Idrees examined the consignment and submitted the report as per declaration. The consignment was cleared and released.
Information was received through Collector Preventive Dr. Iftikhar that betel nut was being cleared in the garb of paper scrap. Additional collector Aamir Theim formed a team headed by Deputy collector Mohammad Faisal and comprising Khalid Tabassum, which raided a warehouse in Gulbai and arrested two persons including importer Abdul Waheed. On their information eight more containers were found at another warehouse in Pipri. These containers were imposed by Customs seals.
It may be mentioned here that the very team of MCC Preventive detected several major scams including misuse of green channel facility.
Meanwhile, Additional Collector Yaseen Murtaza of MCC Port Qasim has also initiated investigations in this regard that how betel nut was cleared. Initial investigations found that it was a case of switch bill of lading as the consignment came from Dubai but declared that it was coming from Saudi Arabia. CIU Port Qasim and ASO Preventive are investigating the case to identify the mastermind.
It may be mentioned here that government collected Rs4.0 of taxes/container of betel nut, while around 300 containers were imported every month. Department of Plant Protection eliminated the legal import of betel nut and many other goods including spices etc. Former Minister Sikandar Hayat Bosat, Khurram Dastgir and Humayun Akhtar are said to be the beneficiaries of smuggling of betel nut and other such goods. Moreover, Mohammad Waseem of Department of Plant Protection, Member Customs Zahid Khokhar, Chief Collector Abdul Rasheed Sheikh and DG Customs Intelligence Shaukat Ali enabled the scam, wherein the state exchequer was inflicted a huge loss.
Several conditions were imposed by the Department of Plant Protection on the import Betel nut and several others goods discouraging their imports. Later, these goods found their way in the country through controlled smuggling and misuse of green channel facility.
Sources said Chief Collector Abdul Rasheed Sheikh and Director General Customs Intelligence Shaukat Ali were very powerful officers in the previous government and enjoyed unlimited authorities. Superintendent Rafiq Maher in Karachi and he is looking after MCC Port Qasim, KICT and anti-smuggling despite he does not have the charge of ASO.
Director Customs Intelligence Karachi Fayyaz Anwar has no powers at all and considered as a dummy director. Superintendent Rafiq Mahar, Additional Collector Ali Zaman Gardezi and Deputy Collector Saad Rabbani are in direct contact with the Director General Shaukat Ali bypassing the Director Fayyaz Anwar.
An official said if any director of Customs Intelligence dared to speak-up against the wrongdoings of Director General, such officers were either transferred or the Director General writes a letter aimed at destroying the carrier of the officer.