KARACHI: MCC Appraisement West has lodged an FIR against M/s Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT), M/s Abdul Rehman Sudesh and M/s Impex International for clandestinely removing restricted goods from the terminal in violation of Import Policy Order and evading government taxes.

Additional Collector Auction MCC appraisement West Zubair Shah passed the information to Deputy Collector Jahanzeb Abbasi and Appraising Officer Shahzada Ameen Babar regarding replacement of restricted cargo from KICT.

Therefore, KICT was asked to ground the containers before the auction, but KICT was reluctant to ground the containers. After passing of six days, KICT was advised to ground the entire lot.

The examination of the containers found that the destroyable goods i.e. betel nuts had been removed with marble slabs.

Initial investigation proved beyond doubt that three containers containing Betel Nuts had been fraudulently removed from the terminal by tampering / changing / affixing the container numbers of the currently lying containers of unpolished Granite / Marble slabs with the active connivance of the importers, management of M/s. KICT along with others in committing the offence.

Preliminary inquiry into the matter has revealed that the Betel Nuts containers imported have been fraudulently removed from the terminal after tampering numbers of the currently lying containers of polished marble slabs imported by M/s. Impex International.

This act on the part of Terminal Operator/Custodian is a blatant violation of Customs Rules, whereby it is the sole responsibility of the Terminal Operator to ensure safe custody of all goods, cargo, containers and enactment of seal received either from a vessel or from the shipper’s truck and to ensure that the goods, cargo and containers are not tampered with in any manner whatsoever and that the container seals are not removed or replaced in any manner.

An FIR is lodged and investigations are underway.

It may be mentioned here that this is not the first instance wherein terminal operator is found conniving with the culprits. Previously, then Collector Appraisement West Wajid Ali, Additional Collector Aamir Theim and Deputy Collector Falik Sher had detected similar case and also arrested staff of KICT. However, container replacement has again been detected with the involvement of KICT staff.

An official said affairs at container terminals were very dubious at container terminals because there has never been an audit of these container terminal operators by Customs. Customs authorities don not have the authority to conduct audit of container terminals.