KARACHI: Customs Intelligence and Investigation Karachi (I&I Karachi) has lodged five FIRs against several companies/investor of Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ), while officials and officers of KEPZ are also likely to be booked and arrested.
I&I Karachi has lodged FIRs against M/s Union Enterprises, M/s Al Hamd Textile Pvt Ltd, M/s Swiss Packaging, M/s Laiba Industries Pvt Ltd and M/s CYMA Enterprise for smuggling the goods from Karachi Export Processing Zone into the tariff area without payment of duty and taxes.
These five FIRs pertain to revenue of Rs129.4 million, which the above mentioned importers evaded in active connivance of Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) officers and officials.
Information was passed through Director General I&I Abdul Rasheed Shaikh regarding organized crime in Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ). Director I&I Karachi Khalil Yousafani formed a team comprising Additional Director Rana Tasleem, Assistant Director Amjad Gaad, Apprising Officer Irfan Qureshi, Intelligence Officers Munir Chandio and Liaquat Ali.
An exhaustive and thorough investigation in the matter was initiated by the Directorate. General Manager KEPZ South was approached by the Directorate seeking details regarding the tax-free imports by the KEPZ companies/investors and export of the same.
However, GM KEPZ South refused to share the data and wrote a letter to Director General I&I Abdul Rasheed Shaikh out rightly refusing to provide any help and assistance in the case.
Subsequently, Ministry of Commerce advised KEPZ to cooperate with the Customs authorities, but still KEPZ has not provided the required data.
KEPZ has been the center of many scams and controversies, and the corruption, inefficiency and nexus of KEPZ staff with smugglers/criminals has caused a mammoth loss to the national exchequer. A senior FBR official said KEPZ had not served the country or economy at all adding KEPZ was just a cover to organized smuggling, while staff of KEPZ including senior officers were equally involved with the smugglers.
The exercise conducted by I&I Karachi revealed that massive mis-declaration and evasion of the duty and taxes had been committed by the above mentioned importers located within the KEPZ.
The investigation conducted so far shows that the units located in KEPZ import duty free items for processing these at KEPZ for subsequent export but instead of exporting, they consumed these in local market, causing huge revenue loss to exchequer in terms of leviable duty & taxes.
It may be mentioned here Customs Intelligence and Investigation (I&I Karachi) arrested one Khurram owner of M/s Laiba Industries (Pvt) Ltd in December 2020. Khurram is now in the custody of NAB.
Sources said betel nut, chemicals, cigarettes, cloth, and several other banned goods had been removed from EPZ illegally causing huge loss to the national exchequer.
Sources said a practice of illegal removal of goods from Export Processing Zone to local market was on for some time and EPZ officials were involved in this business. It was also known that goods were being removed from EPZ in garbage dumpers with goods hidden underneath the trash.
An official said I&I Karachi had made all preparations and collected sufficient evidence adding members of KEPZ staff will also be arrested for aiding and abetting a crime.