KARACHI: The Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Appraisement East has exposed a scam involving the use of fake and fabricated bank letters to clear imported goods without proper payment and verification. The importer, M/s Zafar International, has been booked for defrauding the authorities and evading taxes by importing solar panels on open account basis, which is not allowed for commercial importers.

According to the MCC Appraisement East, the importer filed a Goods Declaration (GD) for a consignment of solar panels and uploaded a scanned letter in the WeBOC system, claiming to be issued by Dubai Islamic Bank, Urdu Bazar Branch, Karachi. The letter confirmed that the importer was eligible for open account facility, which means that the importer can make payments after receiving the goods.

However, the letter turned out to be fake and fabricated, as confirmed by the bank itself. The importer had hoodwinked the customs authorities by submitting fake documents and managed to clear the goods on the basis of the fake letter.

The scam was detected by the Collector Jameel Baloch, who passed the information to Deputy Collector Romaila Jacob. The case was pursued by Principal Appraiser Muhammad Farooq, Appraising Officer Ghani Soomro and SPS Hashim Malak.

The MCC Appraisement East also received a letter from the Directorate of Post Clearance Audit, Karachi, alerting them that the importer had been using a dummy NTN number (5217810-6) for importing solar panels instead of their own NTN number. This was done to bypass the requirement of I-form approvals and illegally avail the open account facility.

Moreover, the importer’s office or business unit was not found at the address mentioned in the GD. The importer had therefore, concealed their identity and location to avoid scrutiny and accountability.

The MCC Appraisement East has lodged an FIR against the importer and their accomplices for in-depth investigation into the matter. The importer is facing charges of cheating, fraud, forgery, misdeclaration and tax evasion. The customs authorities have also seized the imported goods and initiated legal action to recover the evaded taxes and duties.