KARACHI: The Customs department has taken its case to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, challenging the judgment of the Sindh High Court regarding the release of imported consignments of steel products. The High Court had ordered the provisional release of the goods, which were mis-declared by the importers M/s Shamim Agencies and M/s Safa Steel, along with their agent Muhammad Anwar of M/s Trishmir Imports. The mis-declaration was an attempt to clear the goods under incorrect PCT headings with lower tariff rates and assessable values.

According to deatils, Director General I&I Faiz Ahmed passed information to Director Engineer Habib about an organized cartel operating in collaboration with clearing agent Muhammad Anwar of M/s Trishmir Imports. The cartel was involved in importing high-value steel sheets through mis-declaration, resulting in significant revenue losses for the national exchequer.

Deputy Collector R&A Inamullah Wazir formed a team to investigate the matter, including Superintendent Saud Hasan Khan, Principal Appraiser Zakaullah, and Appraising Officer Ilyas Gichki. The team confirmed gross mis-declaration of the physical description of the imported goods, aimed at evading government revenue amounting to Rs53.5 million.

The importers and the clearing agent approached the Sindh High Court, which ordered the provisional release of the goods upon submission of the differential amount of duty and taxes to the Court’s nazir (officer responsible for handling court funds). However, Customs officials maintain that the case should proceed to Customs Adjudication, where fines and penalties would be imposed on the culprits.

Muhammad Anwar, the owner of M/s Trishmir Imports, is allegedly involved in a large-scale scam, enticing importers to engage in revenue evasion according to his premeditated plan, and subsequently blackmailing them to extort additional funds.

Sources have revealed that Muhammad Anwar is supported by a Customs official and exploits his connections within the Customs department to file First Information Reports (FIRs) against importers who refuse his demands.

The Customs department is determined to uncover the truth behind this intricate web of fraud and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. By taking the case to the Supreme Court, Customs aims to rectify the decision of the Sindh High Court and seek justice for the revenue losses incurred by the national exchequer.