Customs Intelligence lodges 26 FIRs against steel importers for evading Rs705.29 million

[[i9p[KARACHI: Directorate of Customs Intelligence & Investigation Karachi has lodged 26 FIRs against certain importers for evading legitimate government revenue Rs705.29 million by misusing and illegally claiming benefit of SRO 655(I)/2006.

Director Irfan Javed had the information that certain importers were involved in importing steel coils through mis-declaration of description, size and grades of the imported goods to illegally avail concessionary rate of Customs duty under SRO 655(I)/2006, and then selling the said goods without any manufacturing or value addition.

Irfan Javed advised Additional Director Sheeraz Ahmed and Deputy Director Adnan Rafiq to conduct scrutiny of the records of these imports. A high-profile officer Superintendent Fakhar Shah and his team R&A was assigned the task. Fakhar Shah is a very competent officer, and after a working of three months the cases were established and FIRs were lodged.

As many as M/s A-One Steel, M/s New Aijaz Engineering and M/s Essa Steel. The documents relating to the consignments of steel sheet coils imported by these importers under SRO-655(1)/2006 were retrieved from WeBOC system scrutiny of which transpired that M/s Essa Steel, M/s A-One Steel and M/s New Aijaz Engineering are involved in the evasion of customs duty and taxes by mis-using SRO-655(1)/2006 by way of clearing steel sheets in coils on concessionary rate of customs duty i.e. 1.0% instead of customs duty of 20%.

The role of other associates in the crime including Customs officials and Engineering Development Board (EDB) officials is being ascertained.

An official said the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) allocated the import quota to manufacturer importers after a due process, and it was IRS job to keep an eye on such companies whether they were actually manufacturer importers and using the imported goods for the purpose. However, IRS does not keep any check or balance, which results in losses to the national exchequer.

An official said led by Additional Director Sheeraz Ahmed, the Enforcement section of Directorate of Customs Intelligence & Investigation Karachi was quite efficient and detected many scams and frauds, while on the other hand the anti-smuggling section of the Directorate was lagging far behind.

Lodging of 26 FIRs against culprits in one day suggests that the government means business and there would be no leniency or facilitation of crimes any longer.



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