Zahid Khokhar advises to expedite investigation into steel smuggling, money laundering case

KARACHI: Director General Customs Intelligence and Investigation Zahid Khokhar has advised Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to expedite investigations into the steel smuggling to KEPZ case and advised SIU to make all efforts to take this mega scam to its logical end.

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Karachi has lodged a total of 8 FIRs against several persons for smuggling of the impugned goods to KEPZ, evasion of government revenue through mis-declaration, submission of tampered and fabricated documents and money laundering.

The authorities are also investigating involvement of the officials of Customs as well as Engineering Development Board (EDB) in this fraud.

The FIRs have been lodged against M/s Hassan Steels, M/s Steel Vision (Pvt) Limited, M/s Zubair Steel, M/s Steel Vision (Pvt) Ltd, M/s Cosmos Trading Development, M/s Baluchistan Engineering Works and M/s Integra Trading Company, M/s Muhammad Rizwan and Brothers and M/s Royal Impex.

Information was received through Director Irfan Javed regarding a fiscal fraud being committed by some unscrupulous elements for money laundering and evasion of government revenue since long, under the garb of imports of steel sheets in KEPZ.

In pursuance thereof, Deputy Director Adnan Rafique amd Superintendent SIU Dost Muhammad initiated formal inquiry against the concerned companies and relevant documents, record were procured from the concerned quarters including KEPZA, shipping agents and banks.

It was found that importers including M/s Zubair Steel, M/s Integra Trading Company, M/s. Muhammad Rizwan and Brothers and M/s Hassan Steel imported consignments of CRC Steel Sheets from South Korea. However, M/s Steel Vision and M/s Royal Impex (Pvt) Ltd KEPZ through mutual conspiracy with the lawful importers arranged manifestation of the cargo for KEPZ in their name through tampering of the relevant commercial invoices and packing lists etc; also concealing existence of LC referred to above.

According to law, imported goods for which foreign exchange was paid through Pakistani resources does not qualify to be EPZ cargo and cannot be processed and released as EPZ cargo. Moreover, GD for clearance of such imported can only be filed by lawful importers/owners for import clearance into Pakistan.

However, M/s Steel Vision and M/s Royal Impex KEPZ illegally filed import GDs for transportation of the goods to KEPZ under the garb of EPZ cargo through their agent M/s Cosmos Trading Development on the basis of the tampered and fabricated import documents.

They also mis-declared the description and specification of the imported goods to evade government revenue. The importers evaded government revenue along with unauthorized flight of capital from Pakistan under the garb of import of the consignments into Pakistan.

Subsequently, they exported the impugned goods into tariff area of Karachi and got the same cleared on payment of duty and taxes against the mis-declared particulars on the basis of forged documents.

It is established that foreign exchange has been transferred from Pakistan on behalf of importers under the garb of import of the impugned goods into Pakistan. However, the goods have illegally been diverted to KEPZ (a foreign territory) on the basis of the tampered and fabricated false import documents & false statements and evaded huge amount of government’s legitimate revenue through gross mis-declaration.

Undoubtedly, it constitutes un-authorized flight of precious foreign exchange from Pakistan, fiscal fraud, smuggling and evasion of duties & taxes. Inquiries made into the matter have further revealed that one Muhammad Abdullah S/o Muhammad Akber of M/s Cosmos Trading Development  is master mind of this scam.

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