KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is rapidly advancing its investigations in the case pertaining to the involvement of Customs officers/officials in facilitating smuggling and receiving bribe from the smugglers.
Sources said that Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir has ordered a crackdown on smuggling, and one of his subordinate agencies is leading the anti-smuggling campaign as well as action against officers/officials involved in the crime. Similarly, a rigorous crackdown is also being launched in Baluchistan against smugglers.
The FIA has recorded the statements of jewelers whom were selling gold bars to the accused Customs employee; statements of bank managers keeping accounts of the accused have also been recorded and details of transactions to and from these accounts are also obtained.
In his statement under 161 Cr.P.c, Muhammad Munir, Proprietor Jewel Palace, disclosed that he had visited the residence of accused Muhammad Tayyab Khan for delivery of gold items and Gold Bars.
Munir knew Tayyab through one of customers namely Dr. Quratul Ain (niece of Tayyab). He said initially Tayyab’s wife used to come with Dr. Quratul Ain and bought Jewellery. Tayyab visited the shop and requested for gold bars. Tayyab told the jeweler that he is selling his property and amount received from such sale, will be converted into gold bars as purchase of jewellery is not beneficial. Initially he purchased 10 tola gold bar (24 carat) from me in the month of January 2023.
Thereafter, Tayyab often came to my shop and used to give huge cash amounts for purchase of gold bars. The statement of Muhammad Munir also corroborated the prosecution version of involvement of officers/officials of Pakistan Customs in facilitating the smugglers in smuggling of goods against receipt of bribe/illegal gratification. Further, the purpose of conversion of cash proceeds of corruption into gold bars is to hide the illegal origin of proceeds of crime.
In his statement Tariq Mahmood noted Saqif Saeed got posted as Collector Enforcement who started organized smuggling network and posted his trusted accomplices in anti-smuggling role who were collecting the speed money from different smugglers.
After Saqif Saeed, Usman Bajwa was posted as Collector Enforcement who kept continue to facilitate the smugglers to carry on their network against the huge bribe / speed money amounting to Rs100 million per month approximately. In the end of April 2023, Amir Thaeem took over the charge as Collector Enforcement and also kept providing the umbrella to the smugglers of miscellaneous goods as well as betel nut / chhalia. In the end of May 2023, accused Tariq Mehmood had given Rs20 million to Amir Thaeem in shape of gold in respect of his share from the collection of speed money in connection with facilitating of smuggled betel nut of Rajni and Bombay Chhalia.
Tariq Mahmood and Yawar Abbas disclosed that accused Imran Noorani and other betel nut smugglers / factories are running the smuggling network of betel nut from border areas of Balochistan to Karachi and further distributes the smuggled betel nut / chhalia to other consumers / buyers.
Imran Noorani is also running Chhalia factory in the name and style of M/s. Sunny Products near Shafiq Technical School Shershah Industrial Area Karachi.
Syed Ali Abbas Naqvi, Manager at Habib Metropolitan Bank mentioned in his statement that in two months from March, 2023 to April, 2023 Tariq Mahmood made payment of Rs37.5 million in favour of Muhammad Noor Alam bearing CNIC No. 42301-8595914-3 in shape of pay orders. An amount of Rs15 million were credited in the account of Tariq Mehmood which were credited through Cheque from the A/c No. PK38BAHL1082098100407201 of Raza Muhammad. An amount of Rs15 million were credited in the account of Tariq Mehmood through Cheque of Bank Al Habib from the A/c No. PK94BAHL1045098100826501 of Ahsan Ullah.
Further, upon debiting of these huge amounts Tariq Mehmood was asked about these transaction on which he replied that these payments are being made against sale/purchase of properties, when bank asked him about the documentation of the said property i.e. sale deed/agreement on which he replied that all the required documents will be submitted to the bank once process is completed. Since then, no documentation was submitted by him.
According to bank manager statement, being students without having any source of income,Kinza Tariq d/o Tariq Mahmood and Uzair Tariq s/o Tariq Mehmood transferred a huge amount of Rs2.26 million into the account of Tariq Mehmood during March and April 2023.
Moreover, in his statement, Stephen Khokhar, Operations Department Bahria Town, informed that Saima Khan w/o Tariq Mahmood purchased a property of 500 square yards (BTKP-CWH2657) having a value of Rs4.6 million from Raja Mehboob Arif.