KARACHI: Customs Intelligence and Investigation Karachi (I&I Karachi) has lodged four FIRs against several companies/investor of Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ).

I&I Karachi has lodged FIRs against M/s Multi Garment & Print, M/s Atlantic Textile Pvt Ltd and M/s Hometex Industries for smuggling the goods from Karachi Export Processing Zone into the tariff area without payment of duty and taxes.

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, Deputy Director Tauseef Gorchani, Assistant Director Amjad Gaad and others.

An exhaustive and thorough investigation in the matter was initiated by the Directorate.

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.

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.

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