Customs books two more FIRs against steel importers for fraud, money laundering

KARACHI: Customs Intelligence and Investigation Karachi has lodged two more FIRs against several accused for smuggling of the goods to KEPZ, evasion of government revenue through mis-declaration and submission of fake and fabricated documents to hoodwink authorities.

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, 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 M/s Hasan Steels imported three consignments of Steel Sheets in Coils from South Korea. However, 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, in this case M/s Hasan Steels for import clearance into Pakistan.

However, 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.

Scrutiny of the available record further reveals that the imported Steel Sheets were of Secondary Quality correctly falling under PCT heading 7210.3010 and attracting custom duty of 20%, additional custom duty of 2%, regulatory duty 5%, sales tax 17%, additional sales tax 3% and income tax 6% ad val.

On contrary, M/s Royal Impex (Pvt) Ltd mis-declared the same as of Prime Quality with wrong PCT heading 7210.3090 attracting custom duty 11%, additional custom duty 2%, regulatory duty 5%, sales tax 17%, additional sales tax 3% and income tax @6% ad val.

The accused including M/s Hasan Steels, M/s Royal Impex, M/s Baluchistan Engineering and M/s Cosmos Trading Development committed a fiscal fraud  to illegally transfer abroad foreign exchange worth $0.71 million from Pakistan and smuggling of Pakistani owned goods to a foreign territory (EPZ) besides trying to get the impugned goods cleared from Customs evading Rs40.56 million.

Investigations are underway.

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