Customs detects smuggling from export processing zone

ASO Preventive unearths a big scam, recovers large quantity of smuggled goods

KARACHI: Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO) of MCC Preventive Karachi has recovered large quantity of smuggled cigarettes and tobacco along with a container mounted trailer from a storage place in Korangi Karachi. The value of the seized goods is estimated at Rs8.35 million. An official said Deputy Collector Muhammad Faisal had in fact unearthed a mega scam wherein the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) facility was being misused and national exchequer was inflicted a huge loss. Information was received to the effect that a considerable quantity of smuggled and contraband non-duty paid foreign origin goods including cigarettes & tobacco had been dumped at storage places situated at M/s Faheem Industries Korangi Industrial Area, Karachi and likely to be removed immediately from that dumped place. A Customs team headed by the Deputy Collector Muhammad Faisal reached the spot and mounted surveillance at the identified area but no one came near the dumping/storage place owing to the presence of Customs team. As there was specific information with regard to dumping of smuggled contraband goods, therefore, it was considered inevitable to conduct the search of the premises. Search of the said place found a container loaded on trailer, which was fixed on the front of the vehicle parked in the premises and it seemed that half of the container was stuffed with bundles of second hand clothing and cartons containing assorted cigarettes and tobacco. During the search huge quantity of assorted cartons containing foreign origin cigarettes, tobacco, tlavored (Sheesha) tobacco, were recovered along with second hand clothing. Customs team then waited there for a considerable time, but no one came forward to claim the ownership of these goods and the premises or produced lawful documentary evidences in their support. Preliminary investigation revealed that a person namely Fahad Mulla acquired the premises on rental basis apparently for the purpose of storage of second hand clothing. But, he indulged in illegal business of smuggling with the connivance of two persons namely Akif and Khurram Saith. investigations found that the information was received from Dubai to Deputy Collector Muhammad Faisal that Muhammad Akif s/o Muhammad Arif and Mulla Fahad were involved in misusing export processing zone (EPZ) to smuggle goods out of the EPZ without paying duty. One Shahan in Dubai is a forwarding agent and a partner of Arif and Fahad. Shahan forwarded various goods from Dubai to EPZ Karachi, which them were clandestinely removed. Another person identified as Khalid is also partner in this cartel. Khalid is also an investor in EPZ. Another person Sami holds an office at I.I Chundrigar Road is the clearing agent. Moreover, Shahrukh and Tariq of M/s Yousuf & Company are also involved in this dirty business. It was learnt that Muhammad Atif and Mulla Fahad are the masterminds of this scam, while a Customs officer of BS-21, who has been collector of MCC Exports Port Qasim in past, patronize the scam. MCC Preventive team under the supervision of Deputy Collector Muhammad Faisal conducted several raids to apprehend the culprits, however the accused managed to escape. FIR has been lodged and further investigations are underway.
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