Customs seeks Court permission to initiate AML proceedings against M/s Megaplus Pakistan, more to follow

KARACHI: Directorate of Customs Intelligence & Investigation Karachi has approached Special Court Customs and Taxation seeking permission to initiate investigation and take all the actions provided under the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act against M/s Megaplus Pakistan.

In a complaint submitted before the Court, Customs submitted Syed Muhammad Asim Bukhari, Syed Muhammad Rashid Bukhari and others indulged in money laundering by generating proceeds through predicate offences including concealment of values of imported consignments of IT equipment; involved in illegal flight of foreign exchange through hawala/hundi and investment of the proceeds of crime and ill-begotten gains in benami assets.

Director Customs Intelligence and Investigation Irfan Javed had approved the case and gave a go ahead that the reference may be presented before court for proceedings.

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.

Directorate of Post Clearance Audit (PCA) has served a total of 148 Contravention Reports on nine companies involved in under-invoicing, mis-declaration and money laundering on import of IT equipment and computer products.

High profile officers at PCA including Additional Director Farrukh Sajjad, Deputy Director Shoib Raza, Appraising Officers Dolat Khan, Sultan Watto and Adnan Zawwar conducted a comprehensive audit of the imports of IT equipment and computer goods and detected over 500 cases of under-invoicing and mis-declaration.

Several more references under AML Act have been prepared against several importers, and proceddings under AML Act are likely to be initiated soon.

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