KARACHI: Customs Intelligence and Investigation has prepared a reference of money laundering and investment in benami assets against M/s Megaplus Pakistan and it’s CEO Asim Bukhari, which would be submitted before court of law to secure permission for proceedings.
Vital import documents like evidential invoiced have been procured which revealed suppression of value by way of submitting fake/forged invoiced by M/s Megaplus Pakistan and contravention reports against the company have already been submitted for adjudication.
Director Customs Intelligence and Investigation Irfan Javed has approved the case and gave a go ahead that the reference may be presented before court for proceedings. M/s Megaplus Pakistan, a goods supplier and IT sector service provider, has been found involved in money laundering through concealment of values of imported consignments of IT equipment; involvement in illegal flight of foreign exchange through hawala/hundi and investment of the proceeds of ill-gotten gains in benami properties and assets.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) forwarded information containing analysis and data about various importers involved in under-invoicing of import of IT equipment etc. to the Directorate General of Customs Intelligence & Investigation for detailed investigation and analysis.
A team led by Deputy Director I&I Saad Ata Rabbani and comprising Superintendent (CRA) Fakhar Shah and others was constituted by Additional Director Ali Zaman Gardezi.
Meanwhile, Directorate of Post Clearance Audit, on the directives of Senate Standing Committee passed through FBR, had already initiated a comprehensive audit for last five years into the irregularities in the import of IT equipment during last five years. Director PCA Aahraf Ali had formed a team headed by Additional Director Farrukh Sajjad and Deputy Director Shoib Raza and comprising Appraising Officers Sultan Murtaza Bhutto, Dowlat Khan, Adnan Zawar; Superintendent Muhammad Arif Jamal, Ghulam Fareed and others.
Customs Intelligence and Investigation took up the issue of under invoicing; under valuation of IT equipment (laptops, notebooks, desktop computers, server computers) with the Directorate of Post Clearance Audit (PCA) Karachi.
Reportedly 17 importers including M/s Megaplus Pakistan, Peshawar were found involved in hoodwinking the government to evade legitimate government revenue.
PCA Karachi conducted necessary verifications to establish the offences of under invoicing and generation of proceeds of crime. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) including M/s Dell Global B.V Singapore and M/s HP Singapore were approached for the verification of purchase invoices in respect of importer M/s Megaplus Pakistan which had been submitted with customs at the time of imports.
As a result of said exercise, verification letters were received from M/s Dell Global B.V Singapore and M/s HP Singapore wherein forgery, suppression of value was confirmed. PCA Karachi has served 31 contraventions reports on M/s Megaplus Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the importer approached High Court to stop the proceedings. However due to tireless efforts of Customs’ counsel Khalid Rajpar, the court dismissed the application of M/s Megaplus Pakistan. Khalid Rajpar is a very competent and well reputed law practitioner.
An official said smuggling and money laundering were the biggest challenges facing Pakistan and a large number of companies including multi-nationals were involved in this dirty business. Such activities damage not only the financial institutions directly, but also country’s productivity in its various economic sectors, such as real sector, international trade sector and capital flows, among others; indirectly.
The government has taken up the task and efforts are being made to curb money laundering and smuggling. Government is committed to provide country’s industrial sector an enabling environment and increase exports. Impartial investigations and uninfluenced justice would encourage the legitimate businessmen and restore the confidence of masses in the system.