FIR lodged against a cartel of steel importers and Customs officers for fiscal fraud and money laundering

KARACHI: Customs Intelligence and Investigation Karachi has lodged an FIR against several persons including senior Customs officers in a case of fiscal fraud through submission of false and fabricated import/export documents and gross mis-declaration of the impugned goods causing unauthorized transfer of foreign exchange from Pakistan.

The accused including Zubair of M/s Zubair Steel, owners of M/s Raja Shakeel Traders, owners of M/s Royal Steel, Muhammad Abdullah of M/s Cosmos Trading Development and Customs officers/officials of MCC Appraisement West, MCC Exports Port Qasim and EPZ smuggled Pakistan owned goods to KEPZ, caused evasion of government’s legitimate revenue and illegal filing of Goods Declarations on the basis of false and fabricated signatures of the concerned clearing agent.

Information was received in the Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Karachi that M/s Zubair Steel committed fiscal fraud and evaded government revenue against Custom clearance of a consignment of iron and steel sheets.

Directorate procured relevant record from the concerned quarters for scrutiny. It was found M/s Zubair Steel imported the impugned consignment of Brazil origin ‘electrolytic tin plates in coils (secondary quality)’ at a declared cost of $450/MT. They filed Into-Bond GD. The goods were assessed by MCC Appraisement West at $765/MT on the basis of relevant LME prices. The importers then filed 15 ex-bond GDs and cleared half of the goods.

Subsequently, they filed an application with Deputy Collector One Customs MCC Appraisement West requesting permission to export the remaining quantity to KEPZ. The permission was granted.

M/s Raja Shakeel Traders through their agent M/s Cosmos Trading filed KEPZ import GDs. The goods were cleared by KEPZ Customs allowing entry into KEPZ unit of M/s Raja Shakeel Traders free of duty and taxes.

However, on contrary and with their mutual conspiracy with M/s Raja Shakeel Traders and M/s Cosmos Trading Development, they wrongly mis-declared description of goods as iron and steel sheets in coils coated sheets instead of actual electrolytic tin plates in coils (secondary quality), while requesting for permission to re-export the balance quantity of the goods to KEPZ. They also grossly under-declared the value of the goods.

Later on, M/s Raja Shakeel Traders with the nexus of M/s Zubair Steel, M/s Royal Steel and their agent M/s Cosmos Trading Development exported back the impugned goods into tariff area of Karachi in the name of M/s Royal Steel.

Moreover, M/s Royal Steel reportedly transferred from Pakistan an amount of $439,300 to KEPZ under the garb of import of the goods into Pakistan, prima facie, for money laundering as foreign exchange for import of the same goods had already been paid to the foreign suppliers.

On the directives of Director General Customs Intelligence and Investigation Abdul Rasheed Shaikh, an FIR has been lodged against the above mentioned accused, while a team comprising Additional Collector Sheeraz Ahmed and Principal Appraiser Dost Muhammad to investigate the case.

Zubair, owner of M/s Zubair Steel is arrested and sent to jail custody while Muhammad Abdullah of M/s Cosmos Trading managed to escape.

I&I Karachi had sought a remand for 14 days but the court only granted one-day remand and then the accused was sent to jail.

An officials said courts were not cooperating adding they were unable to investigate and interrogate if remand was not given by the courts.

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